Several Jetstar flights will be canceled this Wednesday as the low-cost carrier is hit by further industrial action. There will be a rolling series of two-hour strikes over 24 hours. In response, Jetstar has canceled 47 flights.
A long-running dispute between the TWU and Jetstar
Jetstar is wholly owned by Qantas. Jetstar has been managing on-going industrial action by the Australian Federation of Air Pilots (AFAP) and Transport Workers Union (TWU). Before Christmas, the AFAP conducted a series of strikes. Tomorrow’s strikes are being organized by the TWU.
The TWU represents ground handlers, refuellers, caterers, cleaners, customer service, security and cabin crew employees. The TWU has a long-running dispute with Jetstar over employee hours, rosters, and job security.
Jetstar says the TWU’s current list of claims equates to a 12% increase in costs, including a 6% wages and superannuation increase. In a statement, Jetstar’s CEO Gareth Evans said;
“We have put a package to the TWU and our people that includes a three per cent annual pay increase and a year’s worth of backpay for each employee as well as a range of other benefits related to rosters.
“The deal delivers annual wage increases well above private-sector wage growth and more than what most companies are offering.”
According to the TWU, workers have been left with no choice but to strike on Wednesday, 19 February 2020. The TWU calls Jetstar’s offer “shoddy.”
Jetstar “proactively” cancels flights
In response, Jetstar has canceled 47 flights on Wednesday. The airline calls this a proactive response. All affected customers have been contacted and offered alternative travel arrangements or refunds.
The flights canceled are;
|JQ500 Melbourne to Sydney||JQ821 Brisbane to Sydney||JQ776 Melbourne to Adelaide|
|JG502 Melbourne to Sydney||JQ560 Melbourne to Brisbane||JQ773 Adelaide to Melbourne|
|JQ516 Melbourne to Sydney||JQ566 Melbourne to Brisbane||JQ777 Adelaide to Melbourne|
|JQ522 Melbourne to Sydney||JQ570 Melbourne to Brisbane||JQ946 Sydney to Cairns|
|JQ524 Melbourne to Sydney||JQ563 Brisbane to Melbourne||JQ954 Sydney to Cairns|
|JQ507 Sydney to Melbourne||JQ569 Brisbane to Melbourne||JQ949 Cairns to Sydney|
|JQ515 Sydney to Melbourne||JQ567 Brisbane to Melbourne||JQ953 Cairns to Sydney|
|JQ517 Sydney to Melbourne||JQ406 Sydney to Gold Coast||JQ610 Avalon to Sydney|
|JQ519 Sydney to Melbourne||JQ408 Sydney to Gold Coast||JQ609 Sydney to Avalon|
|JQ523 Sydney to Melbourne||JQ409 Gold Coast to Sydneye||JQ632 Avalon to Adelaide|
|JQ527 Sydney to Melbourne||JQ411 Gold Coast to Sydney||JQ633 Adelaide to Avalon|
|JQ810 Sydney to Brisbane||JQ762 Sydney to Adelaide||JQ703 Melbourne to Hobart|
|JQ812 Sydney to Brisbane||JQ768 Sydney to Adelaide||JQ707 Melbourne to Hobart|
|JQ824 Sydney to Brisbane||JQ763 Adelaide to Sydney||JQ702 Hobart to Melbourne|
|JQ811 Brisbane to Sydney||JQ769 Adelaide to Sydney||JQ708 Hobart to Melbourne|
|JQ813 Brisbane to Sydney||JQ772 Melbourne to Adelaide|
The majority of flights canceled are from the hubs of Sydney and Melbourne. However, some flights to and from Adelaide, Avalon, Cairns, Gold Coast and Hobart are also canceled.
Tourist hubs and flights to regional centers are largely unaffected. Jetstar advises the strike is not impacting on its international services.
While Jetstar says it is being “proactive,” regular Jetstar passengers know that when things go pear-shaped at the airline, it does so in a big way.
Delays can be expected and T2 in Sydney and T4 in Melbourne should be busier than usual.
To that end, Jetstar says if your flight is delayed more than three hours tomorrow and you’re away from home, you’ll be offered accommodation and meals. If you are delayed more than three hours at your home airport, you’ll be offered alternative flights or a refund.
No reprieve on the horizon
While Australian law outlaws snap strikes, this is the second round of approved strikes at Jetstar in as many months.
There is a long history of protracted and tough workplace bargaining at Australia’s airlines. While union demands are often over the top, airline management can be obtusely resistant to workplace change.
Modern-day Qantas, the parent of Jetstar, is a notoriously tough negotiator. Qantas has its own on-going workplace dispute with prospective Project Sunrise pilots.
The current Qantas CEO infamously shut the airline down in 2011 to bring the unions to heel. While Qantas has left the talking in this dispute to Jetstar’s management, the influence of Qantas is apparent.
Jetstar’s management is strongly rebutting the TWU’s claims and shouting the virtues of their offer. They also show no sign of yielding to the TWU.
It all points to this dispute not resolving in the short term.
Jetstar passengers booked on flights tomorrow who have concerns are advised to contact the airline.