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Jetstar flights cancelled as unions plan further strike action
[MELBOURNE] Jetstar, the low-cost unit of Qantas Airways Ltd, cancelled 90 weekend flights because of a planned strike by workers, citing safety concerns. More industrial action is planned for Thursday, union officials said.
The strike, supported by the Australia Federation of Air Pilots, follows a walk-off by ground crew on Friday at airports around the country, News Corp reported Saturday.
Jetstar is consolidating some services, "up-gauging aircraft, re-timing flights" and operating supplementary Qantas and QantasLink services to buffer the impact on customers of the planned work stoppages, the carrier said in a Dec 11 statement. It's cancelling 44 services on Saturday and 46 on Sunday. Jetstar operates about 370 flights a day on average.
Jetstar staff are requesting more rest breaks, a 12-hour break between shifts, a 30-hour work week, and annual wage increases of 4 per cent, the Transport Workers' Union said Friday. Baggage handlers and ramp workers will take industrial action on Thursday after the airline denied workers' demands, it said.
"If we accept an effective 15 per cent net increase in pay that the union is demanding, there will be significant upward pressure on the low fares our customers rely on and we will be forced to review our investment in new aircraft and new destinations," Gareth Evans, Jetstar Group's chief executive officer, said in the statement. The CEO will hold a press conference in Melbourne on Saturday.
The impact to Jetstar's international flights "is expected to be minimal with limited delays and cancellations planned," the carrier said.
The Transport Workers' Union said it wrote to Jetstar urging the airline to expand investigations into safety at all airports after the workplace health and safety regulator in New South Wales state issued a notice over the risk of "serious injury" to workers.