Jetstar staff have begun industrial action this morning, forcing a large number of flight cancellations and delays with more action planned for Saturday and Sunday and beyond.
Ground staff and baggage handlers walked off the job this morning for two hours at Sydney, Melbourne, Avalon, Brisbane, Cairns, and Adelaide airports, with a second strike planned this afternoon from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm.
Pilots will be also be taking strike action on Saturday and Sunday.
These strikes are the first of what’s expected to be an on-going wave of action over an increasingly ugly pay and conditions dispute.
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.
Strikes happening at Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns and Avalon airports! #TWU members won’t stand for poverty level wages, 20 hour a week contracts and unsafe working conditions. #jetstarsolidarity #TWU2020 pic.twitter.com/BhAIl8JGGz
— Emily McMillan (@EmMcMillan1) December 12, 2019
Speaking to the ABC, Transport Workers Union (TWU) secretary Peter Biagini said workers were left with no choice but to strike after Jetstar refused to meet their demands.
Workers are reportedly fighting for a 4 per cent pay increase, more rest breaks, 12-hour breaks between shifts and a commitment to engaging Jetstar employees rather than untrained casual staff.
“These people are on less than $25 an hour and it’s not a great deal to ask,” Mr Biagini said.
“It doesn’t only give them a decent pay but it also ensures that they’re not fatigued and they’re working safely.”
FRIDAY’S STRIKES IN FULL
Ground staff and baggage handler stoppages will walk off the job at the following times around the country on Friday 13th December.
SYDNEY – 5:30 am to 07:30 am and again from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm.
MELBOURNE TULLAMARINE – 9:30 am to 11:30 am and again from 4 pm to 6 pm.
MELBOURNE AVALON – 8:30 am to 10:30 am and again 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm.
BRISBANE – 6 am to 8 am and again from 6 pm to 8 pm.
CAIRNS – 5:30 am to 7:30 am and again 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm.
ADELAIDE – 6 am to 8 am and again from 6 pm to 8 pm.
What’s happening on Saturday and Sunday?
Customers remain in the dark about whether their flights will be cancelled or significantly delayed during pilots’ four-hour work stoppages this Saturday and Sunday, with the Qantas-owned budget carrier still figuring out how it will operate through the strike.
Jetstar will let customers know how services will be affected, once a decision has been made.
“There’s a lot of detailed work required to comb through the schedule and work out how we can best minimise the impact on customers,”
Qantas domestic pilots recently voted down a new wage agreement, and Qantas long-haul pilots are locked in negotiations.
Union pilots who fly Jetstar’s narrow-body aircraft, which are mostly used on domestic routes, will not operate flights out of their home base between 5 am to 9 am on Saturday, December 14 and Sunday, December 15.
International pilots will not operate Boeing 787 Dreamliners from their home base between 2.30 pm to 6.30 pm on Saturday or between 9.30 am and 1.30 pm on Sunday.
The pilots’ union has said it will not take any industrial action between December 20 and January 3, with the potential to resume strikes after that. Pilots have voted to approve the action, including stop works, of up to 24 hours.
“We remain ready, willing and able to negotiate an agreement which balances the needs of both Jetstar and the Jetstar pilots,”
Simon Lutton, AFAP executive director
Jetstar has said customers whose flights are cancelled or delayed by more than three hours will be put on another flight or offered a refund, and those stuck away from home overnight will be offered accommodation.
Customers due to fly between December 14 and 20 can move their flights forward at no extra cost and also request a refund.
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