Will the drama continue for Qantas in October?

The ASX 200 airline stock recently attracted its first downgraded broker rating.

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Qantas Airways Limited (ASX: QAN) shares are down 1.6% to $5.02 apiece alongside the broader market today, with the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) also down 1.1%.

The hits just keep on coming for the beleaguered airline, with a regional group of pilots in Western Australia planning to go on strike for 24 hours at midnight (AWT).

Qantas shares lower amid pilot strike plans

The pilots work for Network Aviation, which is a Qantas subsidiary based at Perth Airport.

They fly regional routes for QantasLink, including services for fly-in fly-out (FIFO) mining workers.

The pilots intend to go on strike tomorrow over a pay dispute.

As a result, many flights will be grounded.

The pilots are represented by the Australian Federation of Air Pilots (AFAP) union.

AFAP says 85% of Network Aviation's pilots are AFAP members. Among them, 99.5% voted in favour of undertaking protected industrial action (PIA) including work stoppages.

Their current pay deal expired in October 2020.

According to a statement, AFAP senior industrial officer Chris Aikens said the union was "disappointed" that strike action had become necessary.

Aikens stated:

Negotiations on an expired Enterprise Agreement have been at a standstill since March, leaving most Network Aviation pilots with wages and conditions that are well below industry standards.

Network Aviation's pilots are simply asking for something that is affordable and sustainable for the company and its workforce.

What do the brokers think of Qantas shares?

As we reported yesterday, CLSA is the first major broker to downgrade Qantas shares.

CLSA has placed a sell rating on the company.

Meantime, Goldman Sachs has kept Qantas shares on its conviction buy list.

However, the broker has reduced its 12-month price target to $8.25.

Goldman expects earnings per share (EPS) in FY24 to come in 12% lower than its previous forecast, at 95 cents per share.

Jefferies says Qantas shares are still a buy but it has cut its share price target from $8.78 to $7.79.

Motley Fool contributor Bronwyn Allen has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has positions in and has recommended Goldman Sachs Group. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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