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Qantas Cabin Crew Threaten Christmas Travel Chaos After Voting Overwhelmingly in Favour of Strike Action

Qantas Cabin Crew Threaten Christmas Travel Chaos After Voting Overwhelmingly in Favour of Strike Action

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Qantas domestic cabin crew have voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action in an ongoing dispute with the airline over pay and conditions. The cabin crew union hasn’t yet announced any strike dates, but passengers and the airline are being put on notice that a walkout could be deliberately time to coincide with the Christmas and New Year holidays.

The cabin crew union announced on Thursday that 99 per cent of its members who took part in the ballot had voted to back a strike. The Flight Attendants Association of Australia (FAAA) represents around 1,200 cabin crew operating domestic mainline Qantas flights.

“Our members have languished under expired agreements for several years, while having to bear the burden of stand downs and the COVID pandemic,” Teri O’Toole, the union’s federal secretary said on Thursday.

“Qantas is asking its loyal employees, who stood by the airline through its worst days, to take pay freezes and sub-inflation pay rises while demanding massive productivity gains,” O’Toole continued.

The union has previously warned that productivity changes tabled by Qantas would impact cabin crew who are “already exhausted” from working long hours.

In order to push through contract changes, Qantas says employees who refuse to accept its terms will be locked out of flying on new aircraft. Qantas has placed a massive order for Airbus A220 and A320 series aircraft, which will join the airline over the next 20 years and replace its ageing fleet of Boeing 737s.

Cabin crew will see their usual duty lengths increase from a maximum of 9.5 hours to 12 hours and up to 14 hours during disruption such as bad weather or a mechanical delay. They could also see overnight rest periods drop to just 10 hours during disruption.

Qantas has described the strike vote as “very disappointing”.

The airline says it is offering domestic cabin crew a 3 per cent pay rise, along with up to $7,000 worth of bonus payments and up to 1,000 shares worth around $6,000.

Australian media have reported that Qantas boss Alan Joyce met with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese this week to lobby for a watering down of proposed workplace reforms that would see wage rises for many working class Australians.

Qantas has reported a bumper half-year profit of $1.35 billion and said it had increased its forecast by $150 million on the back of strong travel demand.

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