Jetstar cancels more flights this week amid strike
Jetstar has cancelled more flights this week as baggage handlers and ground crew prepare to walk off the job again amid a toxic wages dispute threatening thousands of travellers' holiday plans.
Up to 250 Jetstar ground staff will strike for two hours across six airports on Thursday morning, prompting the budget airline to proactively cancel 28 domestic flights.
A Jetstar spokeswoman said passengers would be notified of the changes with the majority placed on new flights within four hours of their original departure time.
"We won't be swayed by stand-over tactics and have strong contingencies in place to protect customers' travel on Thursday - as was demonstrated last Friday," she said.
It comes as staff and union officials hit back at claims by Jetstar management that flight captains don't deserve a wage increase because they are already paid more than $300,000 a year.
An Australian pilot who could not be named due to contract arrangements told The Daily Telegraph wages were "much lower" for most staff.
"The regular pilot salary is nowhere near the $300,000 amount … that would likely be some very senior captains or a few people who chose to work extra hours for casual rates," he said.
"The public has this perception that pilots are being a bunch of prima donnas but that's not the case.
"If management were being honest and reasonable about it and the guys were going out (on strike) that would be different … but it appears Jetstar are just trying to paint them in a bad light at Christmas time."
Union officials have also criticised the airline's claim that about two-thirds of its ground staff employed part time earn an average of $70,000.
Pay slips seen by The Daily Telegraph show some part time staff working 40 hours a fortnight have taken home just $975 after tax, which unions have argued highlights the need for guaranteed minimum 30 hour weeks.
A Jetstar ground staff member who also could not be named said many part time workers struggled to pay bills and support their families during the non-peak periods.
"The wages are nowhere near that $70,000 average, part time workers are lucky to get more than 25 hours a week, so a $500 pay check a week after tax would be normal," he said.
"And you can't get a second job because the Jetstar roster is so varied."
But a Jetstar spokeswoman said there was "absolutely no benefit" to the company getting their figures wrong.
The Transport Workers Union (TWU), which represents Jetstar ground staff, has asked for annual 4 per cent wage increases, 12-hour breaks between shifts and minimum 30 hour work weeks.
Meanwhile the Australian Federation of Air Pilots has called for a three per cent annual wage rise for pilots and better roster conditions.