The Australian Federation of Air Pilots (AFAP) has confirmed it will meet Qantas management next week following yesterday’s 24-hour strike that affected FIFO flights in WA.
The union’s senior industrial officer, Chris Aikens, said its members were simply asking for a new pay deal that is “affordable and sustainable”.
“The AFAP remains committed to ensuring the views of our membership are clearly heard by Qantas and that we explore every possible opportunity to make progress towards agreement,” Aikens said.
“The AFAP remains open to meeting with the company to progress negotiations in good faith and reach an agreement.”
It follows yesterday’s strike by pilots from subsidiary Network Aviation that grounded half of the Flying Kangaroo’s flights within WA, forcing Qantas to redeploy 737s and turn to other charter operators to fill the gap.
Yesterday, Network Aviation chief operating officer Trevor Worgan attacked the union for going ahead with the 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.
“It’s disappointing that they are continuing with their disruptive strike action, which has been timed to hurt travellers during the busy school holiday period.
“We’ve protected as much flying as we possibly can, but unfortunately, our contingency options can only cover part of our regular schedule and we have had to cancel dozens of flights.”
Network Aviation operates more than 300 weekly flights, with regular services from Perth Airport and charter flights for mining, corporates, and emergency freight.
The strike action was announced on Friday and 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.
A new deal, rejected by pilots, would see an immediate pay rise of up to 20 per cent in the first year, followed by an annual increase of 3 per cent a year and sign-on bonuses of $7,000.
This, though, is partly funded by offsets as part of the wages policy of the larger Qantas Group.
Network Aviation was bought by Qantas in 2010 and operates a fleet of more than 30 aircraft.