Thousands of aviation firefighters are planning to take strike action across airports in Australia to protest staff shortages.
The four-hour walkout is scheduled to take place on December 9, 2022 between 6:00 and 10:00 am, and will affect 27 airports across the country.
According to the United Firefighters Union of Australia (UFUA) aviation secretary Wes Garrett, the planned industrial action could lead to operational airline disruptions across the country. “We expect there won’t be an aircraft moving during those four hours,” The Australian cited Garret as saying.
Airservices Australia, the government-owned corporation responsible for providing safe and environmentally responsible services to the aviation industry within the Australian Flight Information Region (FIR), cut at least 100 firefighters in October 2021 as a cost-cutting measure during the pandemic. The country is now facing staffing issues which have “significantly impacted [firefighter’s] ability to provide services around the country,” Garret explained.
“We’re calling on the federal government to help us resolve these issues with Airservices and we are hopeful we will be able to resolve these issues,” the UFUA secretary said, adding that at least 2500 Australian air travelers daily are being put in danger because they “don’t have the protection they need from understaffed aviation firefighters”.
The UFUA estimates that more than 600 commercial flights departing from Australian airports every month are being served “without the aviation firefighting protection they require under international aviation safety regulation”.