Jetstar workers vote to take industrial action

Jetstar A320. Source: Jetstar

Jetstar pilots have joined Jetstar baggage handlers and ground crew in voting to approved protected industrial action over the Christmas period. However, pilots have committed to keep the week between Christmas and New Year free of industrial action to avoid disruption to holiday plans for travellers.

The industrial action will begin the weekend of 14 and 15 December with limited 4 hour work stoppages. Narrow bodied aircraft pilots will stop between 5-9am on the 14th and 15th. International pilots will stop work between 2:30-6:30pm the 14th and 9:30am-1:30pm on the 15th. Approximately 80% of Jetstar’s 800 pilots are members of the union, the Australian Federation of Airline Pilots (AFAP). The action was approved by more than 90% of AFAP member pilots.

Other potential action includes 24 hour stoppages, overtime bans and refusing to follow fuel saving procedures.

The Transport Workers Union (TWU) said their 250 of their works would undertake protected industrial action in Sydney, Melbourne, Avalon, Brisbane, Cairns and Adelaide airports.

Jetstar Chief Executive Gareth Evans told the Sydney Morning Herald, “We’re doing everything we possibly can to mitigate those possibilities and make sure that customers can get away on time. We call on the union to put a fair and reasonable agreement on the table that ensures the future of low fares for all Australians”. He further told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), “The impact of any potential industrial action by members of the TWU is likely to be minimal as we have strong contingency plans in place.”

TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine told the ABC that the workers had received a pay freeze in recent years and that, “Security at our airports is under threat because of bad working conditions, chronic fatigue and deliberate understaffing.”

The TWU is asking for a 4% pay rise, more rest breaks, minimum 12 hours between shifts, and a minimum 30 hour working week.

Full statement from Jetstar CEO


Friday 6 Dec 2019

To be attributed to Jetstar Group CEO, Gareth Evans:

It is deeply disappointing that the Australian Federation of Air Pilots (AFAP) is threatening to disrupt the holiday plans of tens of thousands of Australians at the busiest travel time of the year.

The AFAP is demanding the equivalent of a 15 per cent pay increase in the first year.

The union’s demands would put significant pressure on the low fares our customers rely on and force us to review our investment in new aircraft, new technology and new destinations.

Our captains earn on average over $300,000 a year and we are offering a three per cent annual increase.

This is 40 per cent above Australia’s annual wage growth and consistent with our position across the Qantas and Jetstar Groups.

We remain committed to reaching a new agreement to support the great work our pilots do every day, but not any cost.

Strong arm tactics from the AFAP will not change our position on this.
We will do everything we can to protect the travel plans of our customers and minimise the disruption to their journeys.

However, customers may face delays and cancelled flights if the union choose to take industrial action.

With less than 20 days until Christmas, we say to the union: come to the table with a reasonable offer that is fair for pilots and which also ensures the future of low fares travel for Australians. Do not put the holiday plans of tens of thousands of Australians in doubt.

Ground crew ballot

We are surprised the TWU pursued a protected action ballot given they only provided their full list of claims two weeks before applying to take this step.

It’s important to understand less than half our total ground crew voted to take action.

We have also offered this work group a 3% annual wage increase.

The impact of any potential industrial action by members of the TWU is likely to be minimal as we have strong contingency plans in place.