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QantasLink pilots show no sign of slowing stoppages, taking case to Fair Work Commission in two weeks

Anna CoxGeraldton Guardian
AFAP senior industrial officer Chris Aikens at Perth Airport.
Camera IconAFAP senior industrial officer Chris Aikens at Perth Airport. Credit: Iain Gillespie/The West Australian

Stoppages to Qantaslink flights will go ahead on Monday and Wednesday as concerns for pilots’ wages and working conditions remain after internal negotiations which have lasted 18 months.

It is the fourth strike in recent months, due on ongoing unrest with their parent company Qantas — with the Australian Federation of Air Pilots at the helm of the stoppages.

A four-day strike planned for last month was suspended after the WA Government asked pilots to stay at work due to the threat posed by ex-tropical cyclone Lincoln and the possible need for evacuation flights from the State’s north.

Previous industrial action has forced Network Aviation to can dozens of flights across WA, using charter flights to fill the gaps. This week’s action is expected to impact two return flights from Perth to Geraldton.

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“Qantas management would prefer to spend up to $8 million a day trying to ride this storm rather than investing in its pilot workforce in Western Australia,” AFAP senior industrial officer Chris Aikens said.

“What the pilots are asking for is just a drop in the ocean for the company given the half-year profit of $1.25 billion posted by Qantas on Thursday.”

A hearing with the Fair Work Commission is scheduled for March 14 to 15 which will help determine if the parties have arrived at a stage where an outcome cannot be negotiated.

One of the main concerns pilots will bring to the table is how better to address fatigue management issues and the lack of confidence pilots have in management at QantasLink.

It is believed information will be passed on to Qantas CEO Vanessa Hudson.

“The purpose of forwarding these results directly to the Qantas CEO is to request that Ms Hudson take a more in-depth look into the malaise within Network that has seemingly been exacerbated by the actions — or inactions — of local Network management,” Mr Aikens said.

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