Rex pilots who fly its regional routes have agreed to a new industrial agreement after an “arduous” four-year negotiation.
It follows the Australian Federation of Air Pilots voting for a series of work bans in June and Rex countering that the union had distributed “malicious, misleading and deceptive” material to its members.
The airline’s HR manager, Paula Tran, called the talks “protracted” but said the final deal was a “fair and reasonable outcome”.
Overall, 86 per cent of pilots who fly its 61 Saab 340 turboprop aircraft to 58 regional destinations voted in favour of the new four-year deal.
“These high endorsement rates demonstrate a very healthy culture of trust and collaboration between the company and its staff,” said Tran.
“We wish to thank all our dedicated staff for going above and beyond at these difficult times and this support will help us maintain the strong, positive momentum we have achieved in recent months.”
The agreement will now go to the Fair Work Commission, which is expected to ratify the deal imminently.
Rex had earlier said the union’s action to seek stoppages in June was “beyond belief” and added its then-offer was “substantially better” than one accepted by the same union on behalf of QantasLink pilots in 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 in a statement.
“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.”
The deal between Rex and its pilots comes after airport firefighters last week voted in favour of strike action that could potentially cause airlines to cancel services.
Members of the aviation branch of the United Firefighters Union voted 93 per cent in favour of work stoppages between two and 12 hours, and also upheld a no-confidence motion in Airservices Australia.
The UFU is thought to be seeking a 15.5 per cent pay rise over three years as well as a commitment to hiring more staff.
Airservices Australia, the government-owned organisation responsible for airport rescue and firefighting, is offering an increase of 11.5 per cent.
“We call on the UFU to return to the negotiating table,” it said.