Aviation

Union accuses Jetstar of blackmail as ground crew accept enterprise agreement

Jetstar workers have voted to accept an enterprise agreement, ending months of industrial action during peak travel periods.

The Transport Workers Union (TWU) issued a statement accusing the airline of blackmailing ground crew workers by threatening they would not receive rate increases owed from March 2019 if the agreement was voted down.

“It is not easy to stand up at your workplace along with your mates and say no to your manager,” TWU national secretary Michael Kaine said.

“Jetstar workers did this for as long as they could but for low-paid workers, the prospect of being denied money from a rate increase that was due a year ago was too much.”

Jetstar CEO Gareth Evans said the agreement was an important win against a campaign of misinformation and inaccuracies by the union.

A campaign that was part of their broader national fight against airports and airlines, and which disrupted the travel plans of thousands of Jetstar customers over summer,” Evens said in a statement. 

“We’ve been very clear that no part of Jetstar or the Qantas Group will do a wage deal of more than three per cent, and the TWU knew this because they’d already agreed to three per cent deals in other parts of the business.”

Two weeks ago around 250 workers walked off the job for 24 hours to protest low pay and unstable hours.

Jetstar cancelled around 50 flights to manage disruption.

According to a survey of Jetstar union members conducted by TWU, 80 per cent said they were injured at work and 80 per cent said they struggle to pay bills. 90 per cent said they wanted more hours and 45 per cent said they had contacted their banks to delay payments.

“Stress, pain, agony, relationships failure,” one worker commented in the survey, “Don’t wanna be with family because of the feeling too poor to do things with them. Can’t afford to be with them.”

“I have to work seven days a week just to get 38 hours a week. I work around 340 days a year just to support my family. I have a wife and a son which I barely see because of the six-day, 30-hour roster,” said another.

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