Baggage handlers and ramp workers have decided not to strike over the Christmas period, following after morning work stoppages at Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Cairns and Avalon over poverty wages.
The TWU called off strikes to allow people to travel home for Christmas and to appeal to Jetstar to meet modest worker demands on pay and safety.
“Workers today have decided to call off strikes over poverty wages to allow people to travel home for Christmas and be with their families. We appeal to Jetstar to offer some similar goodwill to its workforce and to meet their modest wage and safety claims. We can resolve this dispute if Jetstar comes to the table and shows us they are willing to address serious worker concerns,” said TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine.
Jetstar have rejected the pay claims of baggage and ramp workers, who are the lowest paid workers in the Qantas Group. They also rejected claims for 30 hours guaranteed a week, more rest breaks, 12 hours between shifts, more consultation with workers and commitment on the engagement of untrained casual staff.
“Jetstar workers didn’t get a wage increase for 18 months and they will feel this in their pockets this Christmas. Families are struggling and workers find they can’t pay bills. All we are asking for is around 90 cents increase an hour per worker. Jetstar has said that they won’t negotiate beyond their wages policy. We don’t agree with this wage policy and ironically enough we don’t think that the Jetstar CEO on $3.7 million or the Qantas CEO who earned $24 million agrees with it either, given their salary packages,” said TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine.
Fears continue about the safety of workers after Safe Work NSW issued a notice to Jetstar saying workers were at risk of “serious injury” including being “crush and ingested” around operational aircraft because of understaffing and broken machinery.
“Jetstar must also resolve its serious safety issues. Deliberate understaffing aimed at cost cutting has seen injuries go through the roof with workers reporting horrific problems such as concussion, detached bicep, broken limbs, and back, neck and shoulder injuries requiring surgery. Workers have a right to return home from work in the same condition as they left. When airport workers aren’t safe, neither are passengers,” Kaine added.