Jetstar ground crew pause strikes over peak Christmas rush
Jetstar’s ground crew and baggage handlers say they won’t go on strike over the peak holiday travel period but have threatened to resume disruptive action next year if the airline does not meet their demands.
The budget carrier cancelled 28 domestic flights on Friday and 20 last Friday when about 250 Transport Workers Union (TWU) members walked off the job amid a dispute over wages and conditions.
The TWU on Friday announced a “moratorium” on industrial action from December 19 until January 6 to allow people to travel home for Christmas and be with their families.
Jetstar is also facing industrial action from pilots, who took part in four-hour work stoppages on Saturday and Sunday, causing 90 flight cancellations.
The Australian Federation of Air Pilots, which represents Jetstar pilots, have said it will not take any industrial action between December 20 and January 3.
“We appeal to Jetstar to offer some similar goodwill to its workforce and to meet their modest wage and safety claims,” TWU national secretary Michael Kaine said.
The TWU says its members are facing “poverty wages” and insecure, irregular hours. It has demanded a 4 per cent wage increase and conditions including more rest breaks, a guaranteed 12-hour break between shifts and a minimum of 30 rostered hours each week.
Jetstar has said the TWU’s claims equate to a 12 per cent increase in labour costs, which threatened its ability to sell cheap airfares and was out of step with the Qantas-wide policy of capping wage deals at 3 per cent.
On Monday Jetstar cancelled 10 per cent of its flights through January – or close to 1000 services – to help it better manage disruptions if workers strike again in the new year.
Jetstar said the cancellations and disruptions in December and will cost it between $20 million and $25 million.
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