Airport firefighters have voted in favor of strike action that could potentially see airlines suspend flights during the busy holiday season.
Members of the aviation branch of the United Firefighters Union voted 93 per cent in favor of work breaks of between two and 12 hours and also upheld a motion of no confidence in Airservices Australia.
UFU Secretary Wes Garrett later said the union would meet next week to decide strike times, but the public would be given seven days’ notice.
It will likely mean further disruption for passengers, who suffered their worst delays on record in April, June and July due to a combination of staff shortages and COVID-19 isolation.
UFU is believed to be seeking a 15.5 percent pay rise over three years, as well as a commitment to hire more staff.
Airservices Australia, the government agency responsible for airport rescue and firefighting, is offering an 11.5 percent increase.
“We call on the UFU to return to the negotiating table,” it said.
Airservices Australia previously said it had made a “generous” offer to union members.
“Airservices will take all necessary steps to prevent flight disruptions as a result of the industrial action.
“Our priority is to ensure the safe and efficient continuation of our services to keep Australian aviation moving.
“Air services will continue to respond to the security needs of airlines, airports and the traveling public.”
It follows that Dnata catering staff and Menzies ground handlers canceled a vote on industrial action after pushing through wage increases and job security protections in September.
Dnata groundhandlers also called off a planned 24-hour strike after receiving an immediate 12.6 percent pay rise.