Jetstar has cancelled a quarter of its domestic flights departing on Wednesday ahead of a planned walkout of 250 Transport Workers Union members.
The airline has also offered all passengers travelling on 19 February, including those not directly affected, a refund or the chance to shift their travel to another day before 27 February at no cost.
The list of 48 grounded flights includes routes originating in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and the Gold Coast. A full list can be viewed here.
The Qantas Group airline said in a statement released on Tuesday: “To minimise the disruption caused by the TWU action, it has been necessary to proactively cancel some of our domestic flights in Australia. We have now contacted all customers who are impacted by these cancellations.”
The cancellations mark an escalation in the dispute between the TWU and Jetstar, which saw dozens of flights cancelled and delayed in the run-up to Christmas.
The latest action will see 250 baggage handlers and ground crew walkout for 24 hours. The cancellations include 12 flights from Sydney to Melbourne, six between Sydney and Brisbane, and another six between Melbourne and Brisbane.
However, international flights will operate as planned, alongside many of the other 150 domestic departures.
Jetstar has urged passengers seeking a refund to visit the company’s website.
The company added that if other flights are affected, travellers will be informed via SMS text message. Passengers whose flights are cancelled on the day or delayed by three hours would be offered the choice of a refund or alternative flight.
Those stranded away from home will also be offered free accommodation and meals.
Flying with us on Wednesday 19th of February? We’ve been notified by the Transport Workers Union that it plans to take industrial action that will disrupt some of our services. Here’s everything you need to know, including a list of affected flights: https://t.co/2D8KsyvhoJ
— Jetstar Airways (@JetstarAirways) February 16, 2020
The TWU is demanding more rest breaks, a guaranteed 12-hour break between shifts, a minimum of 30 hours of work per week and an annual increase of wages of 4 per cent. Jetstar, meanwhile, has offered a rise of 3 per cent.
On Friday, TWU national secretary Michael Kaine said, “Jetstar workers do not take this decision lightly, and we apologise to members of the public who will be unable to fly on Wednesday.
“At the moment [the] future is bleak. The company is forcing underemployment onto these workers, making them desperate for more hours to boost their low incomes.
“Jetstar workers are utterly baffled as to why they can’t get a guarantee for 30 hours a week when they can see that the work is there.
“It is obvious that management are behaving belligerently, attempting to bully these workers and leave them dangling for more work. Workers are given no option but to strike next week.”
In response, Jetstar Group chief executive Gareth Evans said, “We have put a package to the TWU and our people that includes a 3 per cent annual pay increase and a year’s worth of back pay for each employee as well as a range of other benefits related to rosters.”