Jetstar baggage handlers and ground crew will take protected industrial action this Friday, over poor conditions and rates which are among the lowest in the industry.
Over 250 workers will hold two two-hour stoppages at Sydney, Melbourne, Avalon, Brisbane, Cairns and Adelaide.
Last Friday Jetstar baggage handlers and ground crew voted 94% to take protected industrial action after the company rejected basic demands. Under protected action rules workers must give the company three working days notice before action begins.
TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said Australia has an underemployment problem that is hurting the economy and Jetstar is among the companies causing the problem. ‘Ground crew are given as few as 20 hours guaranteed a week with rates so low that their families are forced to struggle,’ he said. ‘They are taking a united stand against poverty wages.’
The protected industrial action ballot was held after negotiations broke down, with the company rejecting outright most of the workers’ demands, including more rest breaks, a guaranteed 12 hour break between shifts, commitment to engaging Jetstar employees rather than untrained casual staff, guaranteed 30 hours a week, annual wage increases of 4%, recognition of workers having to take on more responsibilities and better consultation with workers.
Mr Kaine said that working conditions at Jetstar are tough with the company cutting the number of crew to the point that safety is a problem. ‘Crew want more rest breaks and more trained staff so they can do their jobs without risking injury.
‘Jetstar made revenues of $4 billion this year while the Qantas Group made profits of $1.3 billion. 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. The company cannot continue to make massive profits literally off the backs of its workers.’
The Jetstar vote is a kick-start to a major industrial campaign planned for next year right across the road and aviation transport networks.
Airport workers have submitted claims to all major airports demanding: the same rate for doing the same job; secure work with regular hours; safety and security as the number one priority, rather than a focus on engaging work to be carried out for the lowest cost possible.
Australia’s four major airports, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth, made over $2.2 billion in profit last year, according to the ACCC.
The industrial action will take place on Friday December 13 at:
•Sydney: 5.30am to 7.30am and 5.30pm to 7.30pm
•Melbourne: 9.30am to 11.30am and 4pm to 6pm
•Avalon: 8.30am to 10.30am and 6.30pm to 8.30pm
•Brisbane: 6am to 8am and 6pm to 8pm
•Cairns: 5.30am to 7.30am and 1.30pm to 3.30pm
•Adelaide: 6am to 8am and 6pm to 8pm