Australians planning to fly home for Christmas could see their plans disrupted as Jetstar pilots threaten to strike in mid-December.

The Fair Work Commission has authorised the pilots union on Monday to hold a ballot vote to determine whether they’ll be moving further with their claims.

The ballot vote will decide on a number of different actions ranging from deciding not to work overtime, refusing to follow standard fuel-saving procedures, or stopping work for up to 24 hours.

Under the current enterprise agreement Jetstar pilots have been receiving 3 per cent wage increases each year, as well as other benefits and allowances, the company reported. The Australian Federation of Air Pilots asked for a pilot cost raise that was closer to a 15 per cent.

“The union has been genuinely negotiating with Jetstar for nearly 12 months but the company remains unwilling to shift on any of the pilot’s pay and conditions such as rostering,” said AFAP Executive Director Simon Lutton.

“Jetstar pilots simply want to be valued fairly in line with their peers at other airlines.”

Pay negotiations broke down after nearly a year, with Jetstar highlighting that future actions from the union will not change its position.

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It is understood that under the current enterprise agreement, pilots’ base salaries range from $230,000 to $320,000.

Although reassuring Jetstar’s commitment to reaching a new agreement with its pilots, a company spokesman qualified the union decision as disappointing.

“We remain committed to reaching a new agreement to support the great work our people do every day, but not any cost,” the spokesman said.

“Making wage comparisons with loss making airlines isn’t a compelling argument. We intend to make sure Jetstar has a sustainable cost base, which is what the union should want as well.”

Both pilots and the company claimed to remain committed to a mutually-agreed resolution and have scheduled their next bargaining meeting for November 29.

AAP

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