Passengers flying with Tigerair this weekend are facing delays and cancellations as a result of industrial action over what pilots claim are substandard working conditions.
The Australian Federation of Australian Pilots warned if there was no resolution to a pay dispute by the end of the week, pilots for the Virgin Australia-owned budget airline would take protected industrial action.
The industrial would start on Friday morning and run all weekend, ending at midnight on Sunday.
This industrial action will not be a flat walk out, but will involve pilots refusing to work over-time, and refusing to fly aircraft if any “allowable defects” are unresolved, the union said.
“If industrial action commences, it could result in flight delays and cancellations this weekend,” the union said.
Allowable defects are minor defects such as a broken armrest or the inflight entertainment not working properly. Australian aviation safety standards allow airlines to fly with such defects because they have no safety implications.
In a statement on Tuesday, AFAP executive Simon Lutton said Tigerair pilots did not enjoy the same working conditions as pilots with the other main domestic carriers.
“Tigerair pilots fly the same aircraft as their counterparts at Jetstar, Virgin and Qantas, however this is not reflected in their employment conditions,” Mr Lutton said.
“The current agreement is well below industry standards, both in terms of pay and work-life balance. Tigerair pilots are simply looking for a fair deal.”
He said Tigerair was “not only refusing to provide basic employment conditions that are standard in the industry”, but was also “insisting on substantial cuts to conditions to justify salary increases”.
“We have chosen not to exercise our right to a complete stoppage of work, instead we have limited the actions to not working outside a pilot’s published roster, and not operating an aircraft until all allowable defects have been resolved.
“Given the possible disruptions, we even provided Tigerair with 4 days’ more notice than legally required, to put in place contingencies.”
The AFAP said it could cancel the industrial action if Tigerair made a “reasonable offer”.
A spokesperson for Tigerair said the airline was continuing to negotiate “in good faith and looks forward to reaching a mutually beneficial outcome as soon as possible”.
“Tigerair has plans in place to minimise any disruption to our customers including re-accommodation onto other Tigerair and Virgin Australia services. We will notify customers as soon as possible via SMS/email if there is any disruption.”
The airline advised customers to arrive for flights as scheduled unless otherwise notified by the airline directly.