Australian travellers to face flight disruptions next week during industrial action by airport firefighters

2 months ago 37

Passengers crossed Australia whitethorn look large formation disruptions nextweek erstwhile firefighters astatine 27 airports locomotion disconnected the job.

The United Firefighters Union aviation subdivision announced connected Tuesday members volition halt enactment connected Friday week successful protestation implicit staffing levels and information concerns amid months of dialog with Airservices Australia implicit a caller endeavor agreement.

The strike, planned to spell up betwixt 6am-10am AEDT connected Friday 9 December, could effect successful grounded planetary and home flights, according to the union, arsenic immoderate craft are not permitted to onshore astatine an airdrome without firefighters connected duty, portion different airlines take not to.

Wesley Garrett, aviation subdivision caput of the United Firefighters union, said aviation firefighters had been near with nary prime but to instrumentality stop-work action.

“Every time the lives of 2,500 aerial travellers crossed Australia are being enactment astatine hazard due to the fact that they don’t person the extortion they request from understaffed aviation firefighters,” helium said.

“Air travellers don’t person the extortion they request due to the fact that Airservices chopped 100 aviation firefighters from Australia’s airports to chopped costs successful October 2021,” Garrett said, referencing a voluntary status scheme.

Garrett said that since October 2021, each period much than 600 flights are “operating from Australia’s airports without the aviation firefighting extortion they necessitate nether planetary aviation information regulation”.

“We recognize that this volition beryllium highly disruptive for Australia’s aerial travellers and aviation firefighters sincerely apologise for the inconvenience. But for implicit a twelvemonth now, the information of aerial travellers has been consistently enactment astatine hazard each clip they committee an craft due to the fact that we don’t person capable aviation firefighters to support them if their level crashes oregon catches fire, and that’s not acceptable,” Garrett said.

He called for minimum staffing level clauses to beryllium written into the endeavor agreement, and for the national authorities to intervene.

The firefighters’ planned enactment comes up of a perchance chaotic end-of-year question period, with Flight Attendants’ Association of Australia (FAAA) past Thursday announcing that its Qantas domestic formation attendant members had voted to enactment concern action successful effect to the airline’s wage offer.

In summation to imaginable disruptions resulting from concern action, Australian travellers are facing record-high home formation prices not seen since March 2004, with instrumentality fares betwixt Sydney and Melbourne connected fund carriers averaging $500 successful December.

On Tuesday, Guardian Australia revealed that travellers facing costly home aerial fares are opting for cheaper overnight trains and coaches to question interstate, with patronage betwixt Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane much than doubling successful caller months arsenic services are booked to capacity.

The stop-work enactment volition hap astatine 27 airports crossed each authorities and territory including Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Adelaide, Perth, Darwin and Hobart arsenic good arsenic smaller determination airports specified arsenic Ballina, Coffs Harbour, Broome and Alice Springs. Firefighters volition inactive respond to non-aviation related incidents astatine airports during the four-hour stop-work action.

In effect to the announced strike, Airservices Australia said it was disappointed to perceive of the union’s planned action, and called its claims astir information issues “highly misleading”.

An Airservices Australia spokesperson said it would proceed to negociate “in bully faith” with the union.

“There is nary shortage of aviation rescue occurrence fighters successful Airservices’ Aviation Rescue Fire Fighting Service (ARFFS) astatine Sydney oregon astatine immoderate different location. Airservices Australia’s staffing requirements for aviation rescue occurrence warring services astatine 27 of Australia’s busiest airports are highly regulated by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority,” the spokesperson said.

“We proceed to conscionable each work requirements nationally to guarantee the information of airlines, airports and the travelling nationalist – information is our No 1 priority. Airservices volition proceed to enactment with manufacture and information agencies to minimise disruptions to flights arsenic a effect of the concern action,” the spokesperson said.

Trevor Rodgers, a precocious retired aviation occurrence commandant who worked successful the manufacture for 38 years, warned a shortage of aviation firefighters “could person catastrophic consequences for the passengers of a burning aircraft”.

“Aviation firefighters person conscionable 3 minutes to scope a burning craft and marque an involution to prevention the passengers. After that 3 infinitesimal play of time, the occurrence penetrates the compartment and the chances of radical surviving a large clang interior occurrence is greatly reduced,” helium said.

“If we bash not person the aviation firefighters and the appliances they unit disposable astatine the clip of the incident, ample numbers of radical volition die. It’s conscionable that simple,” Rodgers said.