Striking Jetstar staff have committed to abandoning any further industrial action over the Christmas and New Year holidays.
Jetstar was forced to cancel another batch of holiday season flights on Thursday as union staff at the Australian low-budget airline called snap strikes as part of a rolling campaign of action across the country.
Ground crew have been striking over pay and safety concerns, while Jetstar says work stoppages are “unjustifiable and cynically timed to hurt travellers”.
Transport Workers’ Union national secretary Michael Kaine said strikes were a last resort for desperate staff.
“They are sorry about the disruption but they have been left with no option,” he said at Sydney Airport on Thursday morning.
“Workers will take no further strike action until after the new year has hit us.
“It’s a show of good faith in the face of a company that won’t even come to the table.”
But Jetstar, which proactively cancelled 28 flights across the country on Thursday, said it would not be swayed by the union’s “stand-over tactics”.
“The holiday period extends well beyond the Christmas/New Year period and their continued threat of action provides ongoing uncertainty for our customers,” the company said.
“As we have said repeatedly to the TWU, we are willing to meet if the union provides clear evidence they are prepared to discuss a deal that fits within our wages policy.
“Until then, we are focused on minimising disruption caused by the union’s actions.”
The airline had already cancelled nearly 100 flights on Friday and last weekend after strike action by the TWU members and pilots.
Jetstar strike at Sydney airport
Posted by Transport Workers Union – TWU on Wednesday, December 18, 2019
Earlier this week, the company said it would slash its January flight schedules by 10 per cent to reduce disruption to passengers.
Federal opposition leader Anthony Albanese said Jetstar and the union needed to sit down and hash out a compromise.
“It’s time for this to be settled because the disruption, I think, at this time of the year makes it very difficult for people,” he told Triple M Hobart on Thursday.
“When workers take industrial action they lose wages. But the company, I think, loses a lot of good will when flights are cancelled.”
The Australian Federation of Airline Pilots, which has also been in dispute with Jetstar, has already said it will not strike between December 21 and January 3.
The TWU wants more rest breaks, a guaranteed 12-hour break between shifts, guaranteed 30 hours a week and annual wage increases of four per cent.