Jetstar strike cancels flights in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide
Photo: Jetstar ground staff are protesting what they say are the lowest rates in the industry. (Supplied: Facebook)
Photo: Protesters from the Trade Workers Union in Melbourne support the industrial action today.
Jetstar customers around the country will face disruptions to their travel plans today as ground crews and baggage handlers walk off the job to demand a pay increase and improved conditions.
About 250 workers in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Avalon, Cairns and Adelaide have stopped work for two hours this morning and will do so again this afternoon.
Sydney staff will strike at 5:30pm to 7:30pm, while Melbourne strikes take place at 9:30am to 11:30am, and 4:00pm to 6:00pm.
Brisbane and Adelaide's strikes take place at 6:00am to 8:00am, and again this evening at 6:00pm to 8:00pm.
Passengers are warned to expect disruptions, with flights cancelled at every striking airport.
In Brisbane, Transport Workers Union members had planned to march through the check-in area of the domestic terminal, but were stopped by Australian Federal Police officers from entering the building.
Transport Workers Union (TWU) secretary Peter Biagini said workers were left with no choice but to strike after Jetstar refused to meet their demands.
Workers are fighting for a 4 per cent pay increase, more rest breaks, 12-hour breaks between shifts and a commitment to engaging Jetstar employees rather than untrained casual staff.
"These people are on less than $25 an hour and it's not a great deal to ask," Mr Biagini said.
"It doesn't only give them a decent pay but it also ensures that they're not fatigued and they're working safely."
The union claims ground operations are dangerously understaffed with workers at risk of "serious injury" from being crushed by an aircraft.
It also says workers are being allocated to work on two aircrafts at one time.
"The airline has cut its staffing levels right back to the bone, meaning workers are constantly under pressure," TWU national secretary Michael Kaine said.
"Jetstar also allows broken equipment and machines to be kept in use despite the risk to workers and passengers. This is causing injury rates to go through the roof."
Jetstar disputed the claims the TWU has made about safety, saying it would never put their staff or passengers at risk.
"The TWU has a history of playing the safety card when it suits them, and this is another example of that," Jetstar said in a statement.
The budget airline said its resourcing practices were consistent with global aviation standards and in line with the practices of other airlines.