QantasLink pilots to engage three-day strike over pay negotiations, one week after 24-hour stoppage

Anna CoxMidwest Times
Qantaslink A320 landing at Perth Airport.
Camera IconQantaslink A320 landing at Perth Airport. Credit: Geoffrey Thomas/The West Australian

The Australian Federation of Air Pilots (AFAP) have warned Qantas their regional WA pilots will strike for three days, one week after a 24-hour stoppage to protest pay and working conditions.

Pilots flying for Qantas subsidiary Network Aviation will stop work for three consecutive days this Wednesday, Thursday and Friday February 14-16.

“Qantas management has angered our Network members by walking away from negotiations and, last week, taking previously agreed items off the bargaining table,” AFAP senior industrial officer Chris Aikens said.

Mid West Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive officer Joanne Fabling said a three-day strike would have a noticeable impact.

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“Regional aviation is our public transport,” she said.

“We absolutely depend on it — so when there is a disruption in the network it provides a flow-on effect which can be felt for months.

“When you consider Geraldton and the Mid West region, and the fact that our accommodation is sitting in the high 90s or 100s for occupation, you can see the amount of corporate traffic flowing through here . . . we’re lucky we have Nexus, which will help soften the impact.”

The seven terms and conditions that pilots have tried to negotiate include two-hour rather than 90 minutes, sign-on from reserve, as is common in the industry and in compliance with the Air Pilots Award 2020.

Pilots also requested starting at 6am rather than 4am after a day off, as do other Qantas and QantasLink operations.

AFAP also requested 10 rostered days off and overtime be increased using the same formula — as for pilots at other Qantas and QantasLink operations.

An official statement from Qantas outlined the airline had activated contingency plans for the strike action this Wednesday and Thursday and had started rescheduling customers onto other Qantas Group or third-party charter services.

“Across the two days we anticipate more than 80 per cent of customers will travel on the same day they were booked to travel. Plans for Friday’s strike will be put in place in coming days,” the airline stated.

“We have not worked away from negotiations,” Network Aviation CEO Trevor Worgan said.

“Given the impasse, we were left with no other choice but to ask the Fair Work Commission to arbitrate to bring this to a close.”

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