Politicians are calling for Jetstar and the Transport Workers Union (TWU) to return to the bargaining table ahead of tomorrow’s strikes.
Industrial relations minister Christian Porter pleaded with the airline and the union to resume discussions rather than take strike action which could further harm an already struggling Australian tourism industry, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
The TWU has notified Jetstar it plans to take further industrial action on Wednesday 19 February, to secure better hours and pay for Jetstar’s ground crew, which the TWU said is the lowest paid group in the Qantas group.
250 Jetstar ground crew will be participating in the strike which will take place at Sydney, Melbourne, Avalon, Brisbane, Cairns and Adelaide airports.
The shadow minister for industrial relations, Tony Burke, said in a statement the Federal Labor party is urging Jetstar to do the right thing by its workers to return to the bargaining table.
Burke met with Jetstar workers yesterday to hear their concerns.
“Last week the company left the table and has put forward a take-it-or-leave-it offer that includes cuts to leave and entitlements,” he said.
“These are good, loyal workers – but they have been put in a situation where they have no choice but to stand up for themselves.
“No one wants disruptive industrial action. That’s why Jetstar must return to the bargaining table.”
Speaking with the Australian, tourism minister Simon Birmingham chastised the union for causing disruption during “a time when the tourism industry is already under enormous pressure as a result of the coronavirus and some continued impact from the bushfire crisis as well”.
“It really is a slap in the face for small business and tourism operators around the country who are trying to save the jobs of their employees at present,” he said.
“To have part of the aviation network shutdown via the union in such a militant way is appalling.”
Jetstar has indicated it will preemptively cancel around 50 domestic flights.