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Jetstar pilots vote in favour of industrial action over pay deal

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The pilots of budget airline Jetstar have voted in favour of industrial action that could delay flights in the coming weeks after failing to agree on a pay deal, the Australian Federation of Air Pilots (AFAP) said on Friday.

[SYDNEY] The pilots of budget airline Jetstar have voted in favour of industrial action that could delay flights in the coming weeks after failing to agree on a pay deal, the Australian Federation of Air Pilots (AFAP) said on Friday.

The measures that could be taken at the Qantas Airways Ltd subsidiary are as varied as declining duty changes and 24-hour work stoppages, the union said in a statement.

Action will not be taken over the Christmas to New Year period to protect the holiday for the travelling public, AFAP said.

Jetstar Group chief executive Gareth Evans said the airline would do all it can to protect the travel plans of customers, but they could face delays and cancelled flights if industrial action occurred. He said the airline had offered pilots a 3 per cent wage increase in line with other employee groups, but they were seeking the equivalent of a 15 per cent pay rise in the first year. "The union's demands would put significant pressure on the low fares our customers rely on and force us to review our investment in new aircraft, new technology and new destinations," Mr Evans said in a statement.

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AFAP executive director Simon Lutton said the union, which represents around 80 per cent of Jetstar pilots employed in Australia, hoped to resume talks with the company to reach an agreement so that no further action was needed.

Jetstar baggage handlers and ground crew represented by the Transport Workers' Union (TWU) on Friday separately voted in favour of strike action over failed pay negotiations.

The airline said the impact of any action by TWU members was likely to be minimal as it had strong contingency plans in place.

REUTERS