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Qantas domestic cabin crew agree deal to avert strikes

written by Adam Thorn | March 27, 2023

Victor Pody shot this Qantas 737-800, VH-VZA.

Qantas’s domestic cabin crew have agreed a new deal of working terms in a move that will avoid threatened strike action.

More than 1,500 FAAA members voted in favour of the agreement that will only increase work hours from 9.45 to 10 hours – rather than the 12 hours sought by the Flying Kangaroo. Rest periods will also be maintained.

The union in November voted almost unanimously in favour of industrial action over the Christmas holiday period, but no stoppages eventually took place.

“This just goes to show what can happen when the company sits down with a real offer and works to get an outcome that people can agree to,” FAAA national secretary Teri O’Toole told The Australian.

The deal follows a series of disputes with third-party staff ending in settlements in recent months.

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Last year, Dnata catering staff and Menzies ground handlers called off a vote on industrial action after securing pay raises and job security protections in September. Dnata ground handlers also called off a planned 24-hour strike after securing an immediate 12.6 per cent pay rise.

Finally, Airport firefighters cancelled strike action planned for the Christmas holiday period after agreeing to a 4.9 per cent pay rise.

Domestic cabin crew were also the last major ‘frontline’ staffing group to reach a deal with Qantas in a development that will give the carrier more certainty as it continues to increase domestic capacity.

From Monday, 27 March, Qantas will increase flights between the ‘Golden Triangle’ of Sydney–Melbourne–Brisbane by 57 additional return services per week, increasing capacity by 11 points to 93 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.

The Flying Kangaroo is also adding seats on transcontinental services to-and-from Perth using the airline’s wide-body Airbus A330 fleet.

It means around 50 per cent of its flights from Melbourne and Sydney to Perth will be operated by larger wide-body aircraft traditionally reserved for longer haul routes.

Jetstar is also boosting its domestic and international flying capacity over the next six months by 15 percentage points, with another four new Airbus A321neo LR aircraft expected to join its fleet, bringing the total number of these next-generation aircraft to nine.

The low-cost carrier took delivery of two more on Christmas Day. The planes are the ‘LR’ variant of the NEOs that utilise extra fuel in three ‘Additional Centre Tanks’ to fly routes of up to 4,000 nautical miles with 206 passengers.

The airline will receive eight A321LRs from the European planemaker by May 2023, with all 18 expected to be delivered by mid-2024.

A further 20 A321XLR aircraft – an even longer-range variant – will arrive between 2024 and 2029.

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