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Australia's Airways Could Be Affected by an Industrial Strike Over the Christmas Holidays

Jetstar workers have voted in favour of industrial action that could see see pilots, baggage handlers and ground crew walk off the job in the coming weeks.
By Lauren Vadnjal
December 06, 2019
By Lauren Vadnjal
December 06, 2019

Flying interstate can be frustrating at the best of times — especially during peak periods — but there could be major cancellations and delays ahead as some Jetstar employees prepare for a strike. Both the Australian Federation of Air Pilots (AFAP) and the Transport Workers' Union (TWU) have voted to proceed with industrial action — with 94 percent of members of the latter in favour of the strike — in response to ongoing failed negotiations with the airline. If you've got flights booked over Christmas, you may face a delay or two.

If it goes ahead, the strike could see pilots, as well as 250 Jetstar baggage handlers and ground crew, taking industrial action. There's no word yet on what exactly this action would be or when this would happen, though the TWU has said that it'd likely take place over "the coming weeks and months" — i.e., the busy festive season. It's likely to cause delays to multiple air services across Sydney, Melbourne, Avalon, Brisbane, Cairns and Adelaide airports.

The TWU is at loggerheads with Jetstar after failed negotiations with the airline that sought to secure a number of demands for employees – like more rest breaks, annual wage increases of four percent and a guaranteed 30 hours of work a week. TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said that "disappointingly, Jetstar have rejected the vast majority of the workers' demands outright".

Jetstar, however, says the impact of the TWU action is likely to be "minimal" as it would involve "less than half" of its regular ground staff. In a statement released today, Jetstar's Group CEO Gareth Evans said that the company has offered a three percent annual wage increase to the union.

Perhaps more disruptive will be the AFAP strike, which could leave planes without anyone to actually fly them. Evans has said that Jetstar will "do everything [it] can" to minimise disruptions to passengers — but noting that "customers may face delays and cancelled flights if the union choose to take industrial action".

Of course, this news doesn't mean that the strikes will necessarily happen — if the unions are able to reach an agreement with Jetstar in the meantime, it could be called off. No dates have been set yet, be'll let you know as soon as there is.

Published on December 06, 2019 by Lauren Vadnjal
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