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Rex says rejected pay deal was ‘substantially better’ than Qantas

written by Hannah Dowling | June 7, 2022

Victor Pody shot this Rex Saab 340B, VH-ZLA.

Rex Airlines has said it is “beyond belief” that its pilot cohort would refuse its latest pay proposal, saying its offer was “substantially better” than one accepted by the union on behalf of QantasLink pilots in 2021.

The Australian Federation of Air Pilots (AFAP) rejected Rex’s latest proposal late last week, arguing it would result in Rex’s Saab pilots seeing “a cut in real-term salary of more than 5 per cent” over four years.

“It does not contain back pay and does not cover CPI over the previous four years,” the union added.

The union is now preparing to take industrial action against the airline, stating Rex’s pilots “have been left with little option”.

It comes as the union and airline enter their fourth year of negotiations over Saab pilots’ pay and working conditions.


Rex said on Tuesday that it was “disappointing” that the union had applied to the Fair Work Commission for permission to hold a ballot on taking industrial action, particularly given that it had accepted a “substantially” lower salary offer for its QantasLink pilots in late 2021.

“Just last September, the AFAP agreed to a 2 per cent pay rise in 2021 and 2022 for QantasLink pilots,” Rex deputy chairman John Sharp said it a statement on Tuesday.

“Rex on the other hand has offered its SAAB pilots a 5.1 per cent pay rise from 1 July 2022, plus significant catch-up payments worth another 8 per cent once the business is profitable again.

“Rex is the only airline that has not retrenched any of its pilots and it has stood by them through the difficult COVID years,” Sharp added.

“We believe that they will stand by the company during this period where recovery is nascent and the company is still fragile.”

However, the union said Rex’s latest salary offer was “even worse” than other offers it had previously put forward during the ongoing enterprise agreement negotiation process.

“The AFAP stands by our communications to members at Rex and will continue to communicate to our members in an honest, timely and accurate manner,” a spokesperson told Australian Aviation.

It comes after Rex on Monday accused the union of spreading “malicious, misleading and deceptive” information to its members regarding the latest round of negotiations.

“It is disappointing that AFAP would manipulate information provided to them during the course of negotiations to seek to achieve its aim,” the airline said in a statement.

“It is particularly concerning that AFAP, whose president is a pilot with the competitor (QantasLink) would take this approach given the significant efforts made by Rex during the pandemic to preserve the jobs of pilots when so many other airlines were terminating theirs.”

At that time, Rex announced that it was expecting to be operating at 100 per cent of its pre-COVID capacity on its regional network by the end of the year.

It comes as Rex continues a year-long feud with full-service rival Qantas after exiting six routes in recent weeks.

The two airlines have continued to expand their networks into each other’s territory, in moves that Rex has likened to “bullying” and dubbed “anti-competitive”. Rex has blamed its recent decisions to exit regional services on Qantas, while Qantas has consistently denied any wrongdoing.

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Comments (5)

  • John Phillips


    Too much bad news about REX lately, especially the almost empty jets they have flying between capital cities.

    Hope not more fatal news coming; their cash flow must be getting strained.

    • Vannus


      Too right, John.

      I pose the question: what cash flow?
      With having to pay AUD360k for the 6 leased Boeing’s Rex’s got, each month, plus still paying leasing on 4 Saabs’, & this is before fuel, wages, engineering costs are added, one wonders where all this required money’s coming from.
      Are Rex’s SIN billionaire owners’ paying?

      As you say, re: poor loads on jet flights, & apparently his regional loads aren’t much better.

      Yet Sharp still rabbits on about getting another EIGHT Boeing’s, & flying to every Oz capital city, by this year’s end.

      Methinks that phrase spoken by actor Michael Caton in movie ‘The Castle’ would be very appropriate to Sharp.

  • Ashley


    Sharp always wanting to denigrate QANTAS in some way, even though AFAP is dealing with his airline, Rex.

    If its’ Saab pilots go on strike, that’ll mean less income, which won’t help Rex’s bottom line, especially with end of FY21-22 looming.

    Maybe more routes’ will be axed by Sharp as consequence.

  • Craig


    The key words in this whole article are ‘once the business is profitable again’, at end of line 18.

    Rex & profit seem to be an oxymoron.

    It’s lost tens’ of millions’ $ for each FY19-20 & FY20-21.
    For FY21-22, wonder what’s in store, but highly doubtful a profit, even after the Fed Govt DANS & RANS multi-millions’ dollars payments to it.

    Sharp will no doubt blame QANTAS for Rex’s result, if it’s a loss.
    About time he just concentrated on his own little airline, after all, that’s his job.

  • Nicholas


    You really do wonder about REX, Inflation in 2021, bumping around 2% now, inflation now, 6% and climbing…

    If I was a REX pilot I’d want more than was on the table in 2021….

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