Dozens of QantasLink regional flights scheduled to depart from Perth Airport on Wednesday have been cancelled due to a pilots’ strike, according to Australian media reports. At least 24 flights to regional Western Australia (WA) have been scrapped due to a 24-hour strike by Network Aviation pilots and the Australia Federation of Air Pilots, who are demanding Qantas increase their pay by 50 percent. Qantas is only willing to offer a one-off 25 percent pay increase, and 3 percent increase each year after that. Network Aviation senior industrial officer Chris Aikens said negotiations between the Qantas subsidiary and Qantas over a new enterprise agreement had been at a standstill since March.
“The Australian Federation of Air Pilots is disappointed we have had to take this action today (4 October 2023) and remains committed to reaching an agreement for our members who fly for Qantas domestically in Western Australia,” the union said in a statement. “We had been hoping as recently as yesterday afternoon to resume discussions with the company to reach an agreement so that we did not need to take this action today. The decision to embark on protected industrial action has not been made lightly. Negotiations on an expired Enterprise Agreement have come to nothing, leaving most Network Aviation pilots with wages and conditions that are well below industry standards…Network Aviation’s pilots are simply asking for something that is affordable and sustainable for the company and its workforce. The AFAP remains open to meeting with the company to progress negotiations in good faith in order to reach an agreement.”
Network Aviation chief operating officer Trevor Worgan said the pay demands were unreasonable and the strike action had forced the cancellation of half its Wednesday flights, according to Australian media reports. “The union has finally accepted our offer to return to the negotiating table, but it’s disappointing that they are continuing with their disruptive strike action, which has been timed to hurt travellers during the busy school holiday period,” he said. “We’ve protected as much flying as we possibly can, but unfortunately, our contingency options can only cover part of our regular schedule and we have had to cancel dozens of flights.”