After almost 100 Jetstar flights were cancelled over the weekend due to industrial action, another day of disruptions is planned for this Thursday, at the start of the Christmas school holidays.
Last weeks industrial action was the first phase of what is expected to be an on-going wave of action over an ongoing pay and conditions dispute that is expected to continue through January.
Ground staff and baggage handlers walked off the job last Friday, Saturday and Sunday for four hours at Sydney, Melbourne, Avalon, Brisbane, Cairns, and Adelaide airports.
Jetstar pilots stopped work for four hours on Sunday, the second day of a two-day strike held just before the busy Christmas period.
The vote for industrial action had been passed earlier in the week 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.
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.”
The National Tertiary Education Union sends a strong message of solidarity to @TWUAus members employed by Jetstar as you take industrial action for decent hours and wages. There is power in a Union! #jetstarsolidarity pic.twitter.com/YxSYRs1IP1
— Alison Barnes (@AlisonBarnes25) December 12, 2019
While pilots have guaranteed they will not strike between December 21 and January 3, there are concerns that travel over the major holiday period may still be impacted by ground staff and baggage handlers, who to date have not promised to avoid impacting Christmas.
According to AAP, Jetstar said the strikes were “unjustifiable” and “cynically timed to hurt travellers at the busiest time of the year”
“Captain’s earn over $300,000 a year. They work 30 per cent less than the average Australian and that level of pay rise (15 per cent) simply isn’t sustainable.”Jetstar CEO Gareth Evans
Jetstar CEO Gareth Evans said:
“We want to get to an agreement but not at any cost,” Mr Evans said. “If we agreed to the cost increases from the AFAP and the TWU, that would put unbelievable pressure on our business model, and it would put unsustainable upward pressure on low fares, which is at the heart of what we do.”
— 💧🌱Aushiker (@Aushiker) December 15, 2019
Jetstar 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 13 to December 20 can move their flights forward at no extra cost and also request a full refund.
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