Jetstar pilot strike averted as pay deal nears settlement
|17/05/2019||Posted by admin under 苏州美甲美睫培训学校||
Shares in Qantas fell 5¢ to $2.44 on Monday amid a further increase in oil prices. In December, almost 95 per cent of Jetstar pilots voted against a proposed four-year deal that had included an 18-month pay freeze. Photo: Rob Homer
Jetstar is on the brink of a breakthrough with its pilots over a new enterprise agreement, which will clear the way for its parent, Qantas, to achieve its goal of imposing a company-wide pay freeze for 18 months.
The finalisation of an in-principle agreement with unions for Jetstar’s Australian-based pilots also removes the threat of strike action over the busy Easter holidays.
The Australian Federation of Air Pilots had requested the right last month for a ballot of its pilot members at Jetstar on whether to take protected industrial action.
However, AFAP executive director Simon Lutton said the union had withdrawn the ballot, which had been set to close on Tuesday, as an act of good faith after the two sides reached a more acceptable four-year agreement.
The union and management will spend the next few days drafting the final terms of the in-principle agreement, which Jetstar pilots will vote on over the coming weeks. The AFAP will recommend they accept the in-principle agreement.
“It has been a pretty difficult negotiation environment over the past year or two,” Mr Lutton said. “[But] by the end of the week we will expect that there will be a fully drafted proposal which will be released to pilots that they can vote on.”
The union represents about 40 per cent of the 1000 Australian-based Jetstar pilots.
Once the 18-month wage freeze ends, Jetstar pilots will receive pay increases of 3 per cent a year under the terms of an agreement which expires in 2019. The proposed deal includes provisions that allow pilots to opt for changes to work practices, such as making themselves more available to the airline during peak periods of demand, in exchange for an additional hourly payment.
The Jetstar pilots represent one of the last remaining parts of the airline group’s unionised workforce to agree to an 18-month wage freeze as part of management’s plans to strip out $2 billion in costs over three years and axe 5000 jobs.
Last week, about 70 per cent of the 2600 Qantas staff represented by the Transport Workers Union voted in favour of accepting a new deal that includes an 18-month wage freeze. That agreement covered baggage handlers, catering staff, cleaners and ramp workers.
The prospect of Jetstar pilots settling on a new deal will take the total number of Qantas Group staff to have accepted a wage freeze to about 8000. They include short-haul pilots and licensed aircraft engineers.
In December, almost 95 per cent of Jetstar pilots voted against a proposed four-year deal that had included an 18-month pay freeze. The size of the no vote prompted the AFAP to apply to Fair Work for the ballot after more than two years of “fruitless negotiations”.
However, the Australian and International Pilots Association, which represents about 35 per cent of Jetstar pilots, did not apply for a ballot of its members.
The two pilot unions have been meeting Jetstar executives over the past few weeks to nut out the in-principle agreement.
A Jetstar spokesman said the in-principle agreement balanced the needs of pilots and the business, and was “achieved within the parameters of the group wages policy, including an 18-month pay freeze”.
Shares in Qantas were weaker early on Monday amid a further increase in oil prices but by the afternoon had reversed the trend to close flat at $2.49. The price of benchmark Brent crude rose more than 9 per cent last week.
Meanwhile, Jetstar Hong Kong and airlines such as Cathay Pacific opposed to the budget airline gaining approval to launch flights will make closing submissions to transport officials in Hong Kong on Saturday.
The budget airline, part owned by Qantas, will again make the argument to the Hong Kong Air Transport Licensing Authority that its principal place of business is the Chinese territory.
Jetstar Hong Kong had aimed to begin flights in mid-2013. However, delays to it gaining regulatory approval have resulted in it selling six of its nine-strong A320 fleet.
Authorities have not given a time frame for when they will make a decision on Jetstar Hong Kong’s right to fly.
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