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FIFO pilots vote for industrial action

Over 500 fly in, fly out (FIFO) pilots working for two Qantas regional subsidiaries have voted to authorise options for industrial action.

As reported by the Australian Financial Review (AFR), about 210 pilots working for Network Aviation elected to approve protected action on September 25.

Network Aviation is an airline that operates scheduled and air charter services which support FIFO mining operations throughout Western Australia.

The protected action voted for includes work bans and unlimited stoppages. Other options available include banning the prescribed uniform being worn and overtime work.

Additionally, about 366 pilots working for regional passenger airline QantasLink backed the industrial action.

In response, the Australian Federation of Air Pilots (AFAP), an aviation union, is expected to meet the pilots to discuss progressing industrial action plans, which requires three working days’ notice.

AFAP senior industrial officer Chris Aikens told AFR that pilots working for Network Aviation “are paid significantly lower than pilots at comparable airlines”.

“The AFAP has been genuinely negotiating and trying to reach an agreement with Qantas management, but the company remains unwilling to revisit its inflexible wages policy instituted under the former CEO (chief executive officer),” he said.

“With more than 85 per cent of Network pilots being AFAP members, the pilot group is highly engaged and keen to make progress with these negotiations.”

A QantasLink spokeswoman told AFR that AFAP’s plans to advance industrial action were “disappointing”, but it has reached in-principle agreement with two other unions that represent Network Aviation pilots.

“We’re continuing to negotiate in good faith to secure new agreements with our turboprop pilots,” she said.

“If the union proceeds with industrial action, we have contingency plans to minimise disruptions to customers.”

The proposed industrial actions come as Qantas announced Vanessa Hudson as its new CEO earlier this month.

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