Jetstar could fix its pay dispute with baggage and ramp workers by paying them just 90 cents extra an hour, says the Transport Workers’ Union.
The company has still not given the union its offer in pay talks and has refused to respond to appeals to meet modest worker demands.
“We are appalled that rather than even discussing what their offer is Jetstar are pulling the plug on passengers’ holiday plans. They are trying to strong-arm and bully their way into forcing low paid workers to continue enduring poverty wages. We don’t want to see disruption and we want to negotiate. Jetstar are being entirely unreasonable in this process,” said TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine.
“With the money Jetstar is spending on cancelling flights and upsetting holiday plans it could have solved this issue by now. Our claims are modest: the average guaranteed pay that a baggage and ramp worker gets is around $650 per week. Workers at most are guaranteed 30 hours per week, some are guaranteed as few as 20. All these workers are looking for is at most 90 cents per hour, that means for many an increase of just $19 per week,” Kaine added.
“For 18 months Jetstar workers got no pay increase, which Jetstar and Qantas demanded when the company was in difficulties just two years ago. This is not an unreasonable demand and Jetstar needs to explain why it would rather cancel flights than sit down and talk about this,” he said.
Baggage and ramp workers will take strike action again on Thursday if the company continues to refuse to discuss their modest claims.
Fears continue about the safety of workers after Safe Work NSW last Thursday issued a notice to Jetstar saying workers were at risk of “serious injury” including being “crush and ingested” around operational aircraft.
The TWU wrote to Jetstar asking the airline to carry out an urgent review of its operations at all airports. It has yet to receive a response.
“Jetstar’s model is unsustainable. Its pay rates are unsustainable as Jetstar workers are struggling to pay bills and provide for their families. Its safety systems are unsustainable since there are serious risks to workers. We want to work with the company to help lift standards and make this a great airline. But we need the company to meet us half way,” Kaine said.
The baggage and ramp workers dispute and enterprise agreement process is separate from the pilots dispute and process.
Jetstar’s figures on baggage and ramp workers pay rates are entirely inaccurate. The actual pay rates can be found at appendix A and B here:
Please note these rates are based on a 38 hour week. Jetstar workers are guaranteed at most 30 hours on average over a 3 month rolling roster (point 14.4) and or just 20 hours per week (point 12.4)