The move follows a resounding rejection by Jetstar employees last month of an agreement the company forced them to vote on. The TWU held talks with Jetstar after the vote in which the Union offered further compromises to its claim yet the company simply demanded that the Union tell its membership to vote for the agreement they already rejected.
“These are the lowest paid workers directly employed in the Qantas Group and their conditions are inferior as well. They are forced onto part-time hours and are struggling to support their families. We are prepared to be reasonable and want negotiations with management which address employees’ needs along with the company’s interests,” said TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon.
“Just recently it was announced that Jetstar’s half-year profits of $262 million to December 2016 were larger than any full-year profits. In spite of these outstanding results Jetstar’s employees are prepared to consider an 18-month wage freeze if improvements to working conditions can be agreed,” Sheldon added.
During negotiations Jetstar management:
- would not guarantee any full-time jobs
- refused to align job classifications along with others comparable in the industry
- offered a minimal towing allowance and training allowance that would not be payable to 96% of their workforce
- attempted to lock in 6-day working weeks without penalty rates for part time workers
Last December, the TWU was forced to apply to the Fair Work Commission for good faith bargaining orders against Jetstar in response to suggestions by Jetstar that it would ground the airline, similar to the 2011 action of its parent company Qantas.