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Qantas brings in 737s to break 6-day Network Aviation strike

written by Jake Nelson | February 14, 2024

Rob Finlayson shot this Qantas 737-800, VH-VZC.

Qantas is bringing in three 737s, as well as charter aircraft from other airlines, to break a six-day strike by Network Aviation pilots in WA.

Australian Federation of Air Pilots members at Network, which operates Qantas FIFO and scheduled QantasLink services in the state, have begun six rolling 24-hour work stoppages from Wednesday to Monday, adding a further three days to already-planned industrial action.

The Flying Kangaroo says that, despite around 25 return flights being cancelled on each of Wednesday and Thursday as a result of the strike, contingency plans will allow around 80 per cent of passengers to travel on the same day they were booked to do so.

“The strike action over the next few days is clearly aimed directly at the Western Australian economy by targeting flying to and from mine sites across the state,” said Network Aviation chief operating officer Trevor Worgan.

“The strikes planned over the weekend will mainly impact Western Australians travelling to regional towns across WA including places like Geraldton, Broome and Kalgoorlie.


“We are pulling out all stops to help get most customers to their destination on the same day, whether that’s to see family and friends or get to-and-from a mine site.”

Ninety per cent of Network’s more than 250 pilots are members of AFAP, and the union says they are the lowest-paid jet pilots in the Qantas Group.

According to AFAP senior industrial officer Chris Aikens, the previous enterprise agreement expired in 2020, and the last pay rise for Network pilots was in 2019.

“Qantas management has angered our Network members by walking away from negotiations and, last week, taking previously agreed items off the bargaining table,” he said.

“Qantas can readily resolve this by recognising that Network pilots are only seeking to achieve terms and conditions of employment that are commonplace amongst the Qantas pilots and the airline industry overall.

“Network Aviation pilots in Western Australia fly the same aircraft on similar routes and just want to be treated like other Qantas pilots.”

Qantas has denied “walking away” from negotiations and has taken an intractable bargaining application to the Fair Work Commission in the hopes of expediting an end to the impasse.

According to Worgan, further contingency plans are in place should the strike action persist.

“We’ve been working to reach a new agreement for 18 months and want our pilots to start receiving pay increases of more than 25 per cent that we have offered. We’ve been clear that we cannot offer more,” he said.

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