West Australia’s resources sector is bracing for chaos ahead of a pilots’ strike that’s expected to affect thousands of FIFO workers and has sparked claims it could discourage overseas investment in the state.
Pilots employed by a Qantas subsidiary Network Aviation plan to walk off the job for 24 hours on Wednesday over a long-running pay dispute.
The protected industrial action has resulted in about 50 per cent of scheduled flights being cancelled, as the airline scrambles to find alternatives.
Watch the latest news and stream for free on 7plus >>
This includes rerouting Qantas 737 jets, using aircraft from other charter operators and moving flights to other days.
Qantas and Network Aviation have also been forced to transfer some customers to competing airlines.
The Aussie industries with thousands of job vacancies revealed
Boy killed, five hospitalised in WA crash
BHP, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group said some of their operations would be impacted by the strike and they were working to minimise disruption.
This includes cancelling non-essential travel to mine sites and rescheduling travel to other days.
Pilots employed by a Qantas subsidiary Network Aviation plan to walk off the job for 24 hours on Wednesday. Credit: Bloomberg/Getty Images
Wage negotiations between Network Aviation and its pilots have been at a standstill since March.
Australian Federation of Air Pilots said it was disappointed its members had been forced to resort to industrial action and it remained committed to reaching an agreement with the airline.
“Many of these pilots even earn less than what is included in the air pilots’ award which is the bare legal minimum,” senior industrial officer Chris Aikens said.
“Network Aviation’s pilots are simply asking for something that is affordable and sustainable for the company and its workforce.”
Network Aviation chief operating officer Trevor Worgan said the industrial action was timed to hurt travellers during the busy school holiday period and flights would remain cancelled even if the strike is called off.
“Our proposed agreement offers our pilots significant pay rises and more guaranteed days off each roster period and we’re disappointed the AFAP has chosen to move towards industrial action while we have been trying to negotiate,” he said.
WA’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry said the industrial action was concerning and had the potential to send the wrong message to investors.
“WA is competing for capital in an increasingly competitive global environment and the threat of a protracted industrial dispute impacting on mining operations could have serious consequences for our state’s economy,” chief economist Aaron Morey said.
The chamber urged the pilots and airline to work together to end the action to ensure stability for FIFO workers and mining companies.
Network Aviation operates more than 500 flights per week, flying the resource sector’s FIFO workers to and from regional towns and mine sites across WA.
There are estimated to be more than 60,000 FIFO workers in WA who fly into remote work sites for mining, oil and gas projects across the state.
Man steals and crashes police car
Man accused of deliberately driving ute into Queensland building
If you’d like to view this content, please adjust your Cookie Settings.