March 11, 2020 / 9:00 AM / in 22 days

UPDATE 1-Qantas pilot union tells members to make own call on 'unsatisfactory' pay offer

* Airline postponing plans for plane order due to virus

* Still looking to seal deal with pilots

* Qantas threatened to outsource flying if they vote no (Adds comments from union president, background on vote)

SYDNEY, March 11 (Reuters) - Qantas Airways Ltd’s pilots union has told members a proposed pay deal covering Sydney-London flights is “unsatisfactory” but pilots should make their own call given an outsourcing threat and an uncertain economic climate, according to a memo seen by Reuters.

The airline said on Tuesday it was looking to postpone plans to order up to 12 Airbus SE A350-1000 planes capable of the world’s longest-ever commercial flights as it grapples with a fall in demand from the coronavirus, but it was still looking to seal a deal with pilots.

Memos last week from two union leaders, viewed by Reuters, advised pilots to reluctantly approve the company’s offer, but the pair do not represent the entire union panel.

Qantas last month told pilots that if they did not vote in favour of a deal, they would face being replaced.

A vote is expected to be completed by the end of this month.

Mark Sedgwick, the president of the union, said the committee of management providing the recommendation for pilots to make up their own mind believed the threat to outsource the A350 flying was credible.

“Whilst the package and the process followed by Qantas is unsatisfactory for many, the committee of management did not recommend a ‘No’ vote,” he told Reuters on Wednesday. (Reporting by Jamie Freed Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Louise Heavens)

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