Jetstar management and its Australian-based pilots are headed back to the negotiating table after the overwhelming rejection a proposed new enterprise bargaining agreement that included an 18-month pay freeze.
Some 94.68 per cent of Jetstar’s Australian-based pilots who fly the low-cost carrier’s Airbus A320s, A330s and Boeing 787s voted against the EBA, the Australian and International Pilots Association (AIPA) said on Thursday.
The pilots, whose most recent EBA expired in 2013, were represented by AIPA, the Transport Workers Union and the Australian Federation of Air Pilots.
AIPA president Nathan Safe said he would seek to work out a more balanced deal that was fair to Jetstar pilots.
“Jetstar pilots have sent an extremely clear message today and it should be heard and respected,” Safe said in a statement.
“In many key ways Jetstar pilots are already the most efficient in the country – and that includes Tigerair Australia pilots. So it is unreasonable to ask Jetstar pilots to accept an 18-month pay freeze as well as significant demands on their time and flexibility without appropriately commensurate benefits.”
The Qantas Group is in the middle of a three-year, $2 billion cost reduction program that also involved 5,000 staff being made redundant.
Jetstar said in a statement the company would continue to meet with union representatives to try to find common ground, adding that the current offer did include four three per cent pay increases over four years.
“We’re disappointed with the outcome of the vote,” a Jetstar spokesperson said in a statement.
“The agreement set forward was fair and reasonable and reflected the need to provide certainty for our pilots while setting up the business for long-term success.”
While the airline was willing to flexible on some working conditions, it was understood the total amount of money earmarked to pay pilots was not going to change.
It was the second time this year pilots from the Qantas group of airlines had rejected a new EBA. In October, Qantas’s short-haul pilots knocked back a new agreement.