Pilots at Qantas subsidiary Network Aviation will strike for 24 hours on Thursday as the company takes an intractable bargaining application to the Fair Work Commission.
The Australian Federation of Air Pilots announced its Network Aviation pilots will take industrial action as enterprise bargaining continues to drag on. Network Aviation operates QantasLink services in WA, as well as charter and FIFO flights in the state.
AFAP senior industrial officer Chris Aikens said pay and conditions for Network pilots are “significantly inferior” to other Qantas pilots, and those at comparable airlines.
“The AFAP has been genuinely negotiating and trying to reach an agreement with Qantas management but the company remains unwilling to revisit its inflexible wages policy instituted under the former CEO,” Aikens said.
“With more than 90 per cent of Network pilots being AFAP members, the pilot group is highly engaged and keen to progress these negotiations towards conclusion.
“We apologise for the disruptions this action will cause to the travelling public in Western Australia, along with FIFO mining staff and other workers reliant on Network and QantasLink flights scheduled for Thursday.”
Qantas is taking the union to the Fair Work Commission after 18 months of negotiations for the new enterprise agreement, which covers around 250 WA-based pilots, failed to reach a deal. If successful, the application will give the FWC the power to decide on the terms of the new agreement.
In a statement, a Network Aviation spokesperson said it was “disappointing” that the union is planning industrial action not long after the application was lodged.
“We’re working on plans to minimise disruption to our customers if the union does go ahead with industrial action,” the spokesperson said.
“Our proposed agreement, which was supported by all three pilot unions, including the AFAP, for the two most recent votes, offers our pilots significant pay rises and more guaranteed days off each roster period.”
A previous one-day strike in October last year grounded half of the Flying Kangaroo’s flights within the state, forcing it to redeploy 737s and turn to other charter operators to fill the gap. Network pilots had planned a second strike that month, but backed down after a breakthrough in mediation.
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.