Imminent industrial action loses takeoff momentum

Ongoing industrial action spearheaded by the Australian Federation of Air Pilots (AFAP) has changed courses at the request of the Western Australia (WA) state government. 

As reported by Mining.com.au earlier this week, the WA pilot stoush was anticipated to continue over the coming weekend, from yesterday (22 February 2024) through to Sunday (25 February 2024), as stalled wage negotiations continue to disrupt the local aviation sector. 

However, the AFAP announced on 21 February 2024 it will suspend this latest wave of industrial action given the risk posed by ex-Tropical Cyclone Lincoln in northwest Western Australia to enable evacuation flights to potentially take place if needed. 

According to the pilot’s union, WA state government Minister for Training and Workplace Development, Water, and Industrial Relations Simon McGurk spoke directly with a pilot representative from the AFAP negotiating team to request the suspension. 

Senior Industrial Officer Chris Aikens says: “In light of this request from the state government, and with Network pilots clearly not wanting to place the public at any risk, the AFAP has written to the company to confirm that the 4-day stop work scheduled for 22 to 25 February will now not take place.”

It is with this in mind the AFAP has asked its members flying for Qantas (ASX:QAN)-owned subsidiary domestically in WA to return to work as normal flying passenger flights for QantasLink and charter flights for Network Aviation. 

Aikens says: “The AFAP will monitor the situation regarding any possible future action once the current threat has passed. However, we remain open to meeting with the company in the hope that it can offer something that will be acceptable to this pilot group.”

However, the AFAP announced yesterday (22 February 2024) it has advised Network Aviation that a 24 hour stoppage of all work will take place on 28 February 2024.

The AFAP represents more than 90% of the commercial pilots employed by Network Aviation to fly both passenger transport and fly in, fly out (FIFO) and private charter aircraft in WA. 

The pilot group is negotiating a new enterprise agreement to replace the Network Aviation Pilots Enterprise Agreement 2016 that expired on 31 October 2020.

With more than 5,500 members, the AFAP is the professional association and industrial organisation for commercial pilots in Australia flying domestically and internationally.   

Write to Adam Drought at Mining.com.au

Images: AFAP
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Written By Adam Drought
Born and raised in the UK, Adam is a sports fanatic with an interest in Rugby League and UFC/MMA. When not training in Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Adam attends Griffith University where he is completing his final year of a Communication & Journalism degree.

No end in sight as WA pilots stay grounded

Western Australian miners and FIFO workers are set for further frustration after the Australian Federation of Air Pilots (AFAP) has provided Qantas with notice of a further day of industrial action to be taken by its Network Aviation members on 22 February.

AFAP Senior Industrial Officer Chris Aikens says ongoing and rolling PIA will continue unless Western Australia Network Aviation and QantasLink pilots are no longer “treated as second-class citizens within the Qantas Group (ASX:QAN)”.

“These pilots are keen to meet the new QantasLink CEO to explain the depth of discontent widely felt amongst the pilot group. The members were agreed that, if the company was willing to come to the meeting with a potential resolution to the ongoing dispute, then serious consideration will be given to cancelling this, and any future, stop work action.

We sincerely hope that this meeting between the new QantasLink CEO and the pilots on Monday does go ahead. The pilots are keen to express their genuine frustration to her in person while she is in Perth and hope she can bring something new to the table that shows the value she places on these pilots.”  

On 14 February 2024, the AFAP announced the first of 6 rolling 24-hour work stoppages after a further 3 days were added to ongoing PIA, as reported by Mining.com.au.

The additional 3 days were added after Qantas management walked away from negotiations and took previously agreed items off the bargaining table, according to Aikens. 

The PIA, which began on 5 February, is being undertaken due to stalled wage negotiations as a result of the expiration of the Network Aviation Pilots Enterprise Agreement 2016 on 31 October 2020. 

With 5,500 members, the AFAP is the largest professional association and industrial organisation for commercial pilots and Australia. The pilots fly jet aircraft for QantasLink (passenger transport) and Network Aviation (charter contracts), which are used to ferry FIFO workers to and from mines across the state.     

Members of the AFAP make up 90% of the more than 250 pilots employed by Network Aviation and are eligible to take part in the lawful PIA approved by the Fair Work Commission last year. 

Network Aviation is a wholly owned subsidiary of Qantas which has offered air charter services since 1998. 

Write to Adam Drought at Mining.com.au

Images: 
Author Image
Written By Adam Drought
Born and raised in the UK, Adam is a sports fanatic with an interest in Rugby League and UFC/MMA. When not training in Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Adam attends Griffith University where he is completing his final year of a Communication & Journalism degree.