Pilots at Alliance Airlines have started the process that will culminate in them taking protected industrial action.
Under a contractual arrangement, Alliance operates a number of routes for Virgin Australia throughout Queensland (including to Bundaberg, Gladstone, Rockhampton, Emerald, Cloncurry and Mt Isa), all of which could be impacted if industrial action occurs.
The airline also provides fly-in, fly-out transport for mining operations such as Ernest Henry Mining, MMG Limited, Incitec Pivot Limited, FRM Investments and Glencore.
Simon Lutton, Executive Director of the AFAP, says “after 2 ½ years of protracted negotiations, and after trying all other available avenues, the decision to take this step was not made lightly.”
Alliance put a proposed agreement to a vote of its pilots in late October, which was rejected by around 80% of the group. Despite this overwhelming rejection, the company has refused repeated offers to meet with the pilots’ bargaining representatives at any time over the past six weeks, forcing the decision of the pilot group.
“Alliance pilots in Queensland are paid less than pilots working in similar operations throughout Australia. They are even paid around 12% less than their colleagues in Alliance’s Western Australian base. The Queensland-based pilots are simply looking for a fair deal.”
“It is unclear whether Alliance has even raised the prospect of industrial action with Virgin, the mines or any of the fly in, fly out communities.”
The Fair Work Commission on Friday 15 December 2017 granted the pilots the right to formally vote to approve eleven different forms of action. The ballot will open this Thursday, and if successful, could result in industrial action commencing as early as 4 January 2018.