Qantas cabin crew voted almost unanimously to go on strike after being told to work longer shifts and take shorter rest periods.
Actions by the FAAA could include strikes of up to 24 hours, bans on overtime and a “retreat of boarding responsibility,” which could include staff remaining on the plane while passengers board the plane.
The news has the potential to significantly disrupt Flying Kangaroo’s plan to increase its domestic capacity to capitalize on rising demand. It could also mean possible delays and cancellations for passengers.
National Secretary Teri O’Toole said the survey results showed how “untouched” management was.
“Our members have suffered from expired agreements for several years while bearing the burden of resignations and the COVID pandemic,” O’Toole said.
“Meanwhile, travel demand has recovered strongly and Qantas is enjoying multi-billion dollar profits. Yet Qantas is urging its loyal employees who stood by the airline through its worst days to accept below-inflation wage freezes and wage increases while demanding massive productivity gains.”
The planned shift extensions would mean cabin crew would work 12 hours instead of 9.45am and up to 14 hours in the event of disruptions. Rest times would also be reduced to 10 hours during break times when no other crew was available.
The two votes were against Qantas Domestic and Qantas Airways and the results were 159 votes in favor vs none against and 859 votes in favor and only 11 against.
Ms O’Toole has indicated that she would prefer Qantas management to return to the negotiating table.
It clearly follows that the airline raises its half-year profit guidance by an additional $150 million as consumer demand for domestic flights increases.
The news means that Flying Kangaroo is now targeting a notable underlying profit of up to $1.45 billion.
In a surprise statement on Wednesday, Qantas said international capacity restrictions were driving consumers to holiday in Australia instead.
“Group net debt is now expected to decrease to an estimated $2.3 billion and $2.5 billion through December 31, 2022, respectively,” the company said in a statement.
“This is approximately $900 million better than last update expected, primarily due to the acceleration in revenue streams as customers book flights on Qantas, Jetstar and partner airlines in the second half and beyond, as well as a postponement of about 200 million US dollars investment in the second half.
“Roughly 60 percent of the group’s $2 billion in COVID-related travel credits have now been redeemed by customers.
“Total credit utilization is consistent at approximately $70 million per month, and new initiatives will be announced shortly to encourage full utilization of the remaining credits over the next year.”
The airline added that its low level of net debt put it in a position to “consider future shareholder returns in February 2023.”
The news also comes days after it was revealed that Qantas had put much of its poor service woes behind it and was now the country’s top airline for cancellations.