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Qantas FIFO strike off after mediation breakthrough

written by Adam Thorn | October 31, 2023

Qantaslink/Network Aviation Fokker 100 VH-NHP was the first of type to be repainted in the new Qantas colours. (Dylan Thomas)

Qantas FIFO pilots in WA have backed down from their threat to hold a fresh two-day strike on Wednesday.

The Australian Federation of Air Pilots (AFAP) has now promised not to take any further industrial action until after next week, following mediation yesterday.

The cancelled stoppage would have been the second taken by the union this month after the first grounded half of the Flying Kangaroo’s flights within WA. It forced the airline to redeploy 737s and turn to other charter operators to fill the gap.

However, on Monday, the AFAP and FIFO subsidiary Network Aviation attended a mediation meeting overseen by the Fair Work Commission’s deputy president, Melanie Binet.

“During the discussions, deputy president Binet and the parties formed the view that facilitation by the FWC of further bargaining is likely to assist the parties to resolve the outstanding bargaining issues,” said the union in a statement.


“The AFAP will attend in-person bargaining sessions facilitated by the FWC commencing on Tuesday, 7 November 2023. If necessary, the Commission will facilitate further sessions on Wednesday, 8 November 2023, Thursday, 9 November 2023 and Friday, 10 November 2023.

“AFAP members – who make up 90 per cent of the pilot group at Network Aviation – have given an undertaking that they will not engage in any protected action until next week’s bargaining sessions are completed.”

Qantas said last week that the now-axed industrial action would have amounted to an “unreasonable escalation of the dispute” and had previously made an offer it said would include an immediate 25 per cent pay increase.

Network Aviation operates more than 300 weekly flights, with regular services from Perth Airport and charter flights for mining, corporates, and emergency freight.

It was bought by Qantas in 2010 and operates a fleet of more than 30 aircraft.

The last strike action saw more than 99 per cent of AFAP pilot members vote to take industrial action. In total, 209 of the 211 AFAP members eligible to participate submitted a vote.

Network Aviation pilots are currently paid under a 2016 agreement that expired three years ago and includes starting salaries of $175,000 for captains and $107,000 for first officers.

The airline’s chief operating officer, Trevor Worgan, previously attacked the union for going ahead with the first strike.

“Our offer provides Network Aviation pilots up to 25 per cent pay increases immediately and other benefits, but the union is demanding unreasonable increases of more than 50 per cent,” said Worgan.

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