As if travelling at Christmas wasn’t stressful enough, Jetstar is set to cause chaos after ground crews and baggage handlers voted in favour of taking strike action in the lead up to Christmas and New Year.
The vote for industrial action was passed with a 94% approval rate, with strike action to cover some 250 staff across Sydney, Melbourne, Avalon, Brisbane, Cairns, and Adelaide airports over the next few weeks.
At the core of the dispute between workers and management are demands for 30 guaranteed hours of work per week and wage increases.
All demands put to Jetstar management were reportedly rejected, leading to the vote to strike.
“Jetstar forces its workers on to part-time hours, some are guaranteed no more than 20 hours a week. The rates are low and families are struggling.”
Michael Kaine, The Transport Workers Union national secretary
“Jetstar workers took a pay freeze in recent years and they expected the company treat them fairly now they are earning bumper profits. Disappointingly Jetstar has rejected the vast majority of the workers’ demands outright”, he continued.
In response, Jetstar officials issued a statement of their own, claiming “We are surprised the Transport Workers Union pursued a protected action ballot given they only provided their full list of claims two weeks before applying to take this step.”
Jetstar Group CEO Gareth Evans said it was “deeply disappointing” that the AFAP is threatening to disrupt holiday plans for tens of thousands of Australians.
He said the union demands of a 15% pay increase in the first year would “put significant pressure” fares for the low-cost airline.
The airline has claimed that any impact on passengers would be minimal due to “strong contingency plans” that are in place.
Information as stated on the airline’s website:
Refunds and alternative flights for customers travelling 14 – 20 December
If you are flying on these dates and your flight is cancelled or delayed by more than 3 hours we will offer you the choice of an alternate flight or a refund. For customers who have to overnight away from home as a result of this disruption, we will also offer accommodation and meals to a specified value.
We understand this industrial action creates uncertainty, and so if you are travelling with us between 14 and 20 December and you would like to cancel your travel now, you can request a refund by contacting us on live chat (link above). You can also contact us to move your flight forward to travel between now and 13 December at no additional cost.
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