Jetstar will cancel 120 domestic flights on Friday and over the weekend as the airline’s pilots, ground crew and baggage handlers take industrial action to demand a pay rise and better working conditions.
Thirty flights will be cancelled on Friday, 44 on Saturday and 46 services on Sunday, and all passengers flying between 13 December and 20 December will be able to request a full refund.
Other passengers will have their flights rescheduled, be moved to different planes or transferred to Qantas flights as the budget airline copes with protected industrial action from two different workers’ groups, after wage negotiations broke down.
In a statement, Jetstar said it expected 80% of flights to go ahead, and “95%” of customers will make it to their destination on the same day. International flights will only be “minimally” affected, it said.
Two different groups of Jetstar employees are planning protected industrial action.
Baggage handlers and ground crew, who are members of the Transport Workers Union, will be taking a series of two-hour work stoppages on Friday.
Pilots, part of the Australian Federation of Air Pilots, will be taking action on Saturday and Sunday. This will involve four-hour work stoppages on both days.
Pilots will also be taking smaller actions over the week, including not working on days off, not answering calls from the crewing department when not on duty, and not performing duties outside a pilot’s published roster.
The weekend’s stoppages will not affect any airlines other than Jetstar, and the AFAP’s executive director, Simon Lutton, said pilots hoped for no more industrial action over the summer.
“It is our hope that Jetstar will use the window from 21 December to 3 January to schedule meetings and resume negotiations towards reaching a fair agreement so that we do not need to consider any further action after this point,” he said.
The pilots’ union is asking for a 3% annual wage increase.
TWU stoppages will take place on Friday in Sydney, Melbourne, Avalon, Brisbane, Cairns and Adelaide.
The TWU are asking for a 4% pay increase, more rest breaks and a guaranteed 12-hour break between shifts.
The union’s national secretary, Michael Kaine, said the wages and hours were so low that the families of baggage handlers and ground staff were “forced to struggle”.
According to the TWU, the 4% raise would mean an extra 80c an hour for the lowest-paid baggage handlers.
“Jetstar made revenues of $4bn this year while the Qantas Group made profits of $1.3bn,” Kaine said.
“These workers stuck with the company during the tough times when Jetstar and Qantas insisted on pay freezes. Now they rightly expect to be treated fairly.”
On average Jetstar operates 370 flights a day, the company said.