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Monday, March 4, 2024

No love lost as Qantas FIFO pilots to strike again on Valentine’s Day

Qantas pilots who connect Perth and Western Australia’s far-flung mines will strike next Wednesday to continue their campaign for better conditions, which could involve more and longer stoppages.

On Friday morning, the Australian Federation of Air Pilots announced more than 200 of its members working for Qantas’ WA subsidiary Network Aviation met on Thursday while striking for a day and decided to take further protected industrial action.

QantasLink pilots will strike again amid an ongoing dispute over pay and conditions.

QantasLink pilots will strike again amid an ongoing dispute over pay and conditions.Credit: Karleen Minney

Passengers flying QantasLink and Network Aviation charter flights will be affected by the second 24-hour action.

Qantas said it cancelled 35 return flights on Thursday and about 95 per cent of regular customers and 70 per cent of charter customers were moved to different flights on the day.

The big three Pilbara iron ore miners – Rio Tinto, BHP, and Fortescue – used a combination of other scheduled flights and charters and changed employees’ travel plans to deal with the strike, according to their spokespeople.

Qantas said in a statement it was disappointing the pilots planned another action and it was again making contingency plans. The airline will contact all affected customers who will have the options of refunds or fee-free changes.

Australian Federation of Air Pilots industrial officer Chris Aikens, whose union covers more than 90 per cent of Network Aviation’s roughly 250 pilots, said his members were working under an agreement that expired four years ago.

“We are incredibly disappointed and very sorry for the travelling public,” he said.

We don’t want to do this, but Qantas has forced our hand.

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