Qantas pilots ferrying workers to remote mines in Western Australia have vowed to extend their industrial strike, adding a third day to their planned strike this week.
The Australian Air Pilots Federation confirmed that pilots working for Qantas subsidiary Network Aviation and QantasLink will stop working from Wednesday to Friday.
Network Aviation operates more than 300 flights a week, including scheduled services from Perth Airport and charter flights for mineworkers in and out (FIFO), corporate and emergency flights.
It is the latest measure in a long-running wage dispute between the national airline and the AFAP union.
Pilots stopped working for 24 hours last Thursday, resulting in the cancellation of 35 Network Aviation flights.
Pilots working for Qantas subsidiary Network Aviation and QantasLink have vowed to strike from Wednesday to Friday over stalled pay negotiations with the national airline.
The action was taken after Qantas announced an “intractable negotiation request” to the commission after 18 months of failed negotiations.
Senior industrial official Chris Aikens said Monday that the pilots were “left with no choice” but to extend their strike.
“Qantas management has angered members of our Network by walking away from negotiations and, last week, taking previously agreed points off the negotiating table,” Mr Aikens said.
“Our members deeply regret having to take this protected industrial action, but they have no choice.”
Qantas Group said it was “disappointed” that a third day of the strike would be added and is working to minimize the impact on affected customers.
“We are reviewing schedules and planning contingencies to make sure our customers can get where they need to go,” a spokeswoman said.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Qantas for comment.
The airline explained that it would contact affected customers, who will be able to request a refund or make changes to their flights free of charge.
Qantas Group was forced to rebook travelers on Jetstar, Qantas and charter flights on Thursday after Network Aviation canceled 35 flights due to a 24-hour pilot strike.
About 95 percent of regular customers and about 70 percent of charter customers were able to fly.
The pilots’ federation previously said Network Aviation had “walked away from the negotiating table” and its members were left with no option but to strike.
The pilots union has been trying to negotiate an enterprise agreement for pilots with Qantas Group for 18 months to replace their previous pay agreement, which expired in 2020.
“Qantas can easily resolve this by recognizing that Network pilots are only seeking to achieve terms and conditions of employment that are common between Qantas pilots and the wider airline industry,” Mr Aikens said.
“We remain interested and willing to meet with company management to achieve some improvements in the terms and conditions for the lowest paid aircraft pilots.”
Network Aviation said pilots had previously been offered and rejected pay increases of more than 25 percent plus annual increases of three percent, new assignments and increased staffing protections.
The union rejected the claim.
The airline submitted an intractable negotiation request to the Fair Work Commission on Monday to help establish a new enterprise agreement with its pilots to break the deadlock.
A meeting between the parties is scheduled for Friday.
Network Aviation pilots walked off the job during pay negotiations for 24 hours in early October, leading to the cancellation of more than 40 flights to and from regional cities and mining sites.
The airline, which is wholly owned by Qantas, is WA’s leading charter company for the mining industry, operating hundreds of flights a week.
It also employs local pilots for the airline’s regional arm, QantasLink. More than 90 percent of its more than 250 pilots are members of the pilots’ federation.