Jetstar pilots extend industrial action beyond this weekend

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December 10, 2019
Jetstar 787  Picture: Jetstar
Photo: Jetstar

Jetstar will face a range of low-level bans between December 14 and December 20 in addition to a series of four-hour strikes this weekend.

The Australian Federation of Air Pilots says the action is necessary after a decision by Jetstar to cancel further negotiation meetings in response to its decision to hold a ballot allowing it to take protected industrial action.

However, the AFAP reiterated it will not take protected industrial action between December 21 and January 3.

READ: Jetstar pilots forgot to lower the landing gear.

The stoppages will occur between 4:59 am and 8.59 am on Saturday, December 14, and Sunday, December 15, for narrow-body pilots mostly flying on domestic routes.

For wide-body pilots operating internationally, they will take place between 2:30 pm and 6:30 pm on Saturday and 9:30 pm and 1:30 pm on Sunday.

The bans will not apply to pilots not at their home base, flights already in operation or those flight crew performing duties associated with disembarking passengers or securing an aircraft.

The lower-level action will include bans on working on days off, duty-free days, annual leave or long service leave.

There will also be a ban on answering phone calls from Jetstar crewing and the performance of duties not on a pilot’s original roster.

The union also accused management of misrepresenting its wage claims, saying assertions by the airline that pilots are seeking a 15 percent wage rise “are simply untrue”.

AFAP executive director Simon Lutton said the AFAP wage claim was for 3 percent increases to salary.

He said the AFAP contended management had exaggerated and inflated the cost of the pilots’ non-salary claims while ignoring or undervaluing the benefits and efficiencies of the concessions that have been offered.

“Put simply, Jetstar have manufactured the alleged 15 percent increase based on inaccurate and flawed costings of our non-salary claims, such as those claims relating to rostering and fatigue mitigation,” he said.

Lutton said the AFAP hoped Jetstar would use the Christmas period to schedule meetings and resume negotiations that would prevent further action.

“We remain ready, willing and able to negotiate an agreement which balances the needs of both Jetstar and the Jetstar pilots however we cannot do this if Jetstar continues to refuse to resume negotiations,” he said.

The pilot actions come as the Transport Workers’ Union is planning two-hour stoppages — one in the morning and one in the evening — in ports around Australia on Friday December 13.

The stoppages are planned in Sydney, Melbourne, Avalon, Brisbane, Cairns and Adelaide airports.

A Jetstar spokesman said the company understood theAFAP action was frustrating for customers and  the airline was working through pilot rosters for the weekend to understand which flights may be impacted.

“There’s a lot of detailed work required to comb through the schedule and work out how we can best minimize impact to customers,” he said.

“That work will be finished by the end of tomorrow and we’ll contact customers directly if there is a change to their flight.”

The airline stood by its claim that the union’s demand was for an effective 15 percent pay increase.

It said the increase for a work group where captains earn on average well over $300,00 a year “would put significant pressure on the low fares our customers rely on”.