Jetstar staff refuse to charge baggage fees

At last, an industrial dispute you can love

Jetstar passengers departing Australia today with heavy baggage won't find their wallets any lighter.

Excess baggage fees will not be charged by Jetstar employees who are also Australian Services Union members, due to union action by the ASU.

The ports affected are Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Avalon and Cairns.

The action, named “No Weigh Day”, began at 3.30am this morning Australia time and will last until 3.30am tomorrow. It comes after 12 months of pay rise negotiations between the ASU and Jetstar.

It is Jetstar’s first industrial action in its eight-year history.

The ASU estimated the action would cost the airline AUS$50,000 (NZ$64,000) in lost fees.

Jetstar communications manager for Australia and New Zealand Andrea Wait said the action was expected to have “a small financial impact, but we can’t quantify yet”.

ASU Assistant National Secretary Linda White said it was not unusual for Jetstar’s Sydney port check-ins to “collect” $20,000 in excess baggage fees in a day. The estimates were collected via discussions with their union members.

Ms Wait said the action only applied to some of the check-in agents. Those who were not ASU members would not be waiving excess baggage fees.

Ms White said Jetstar had no way of knowing which staff were union members.

"ASU members are sending a message that it is time for management to start seriously negotiating with their workers and valuing their work properly."

She said the reaction at airports had been very positive. “It’s fantastic. People are punching the air.”

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