The Australian and International Pilots Association (AIPA) has launched legal action against Qantas over paying pilots employed by its New Zealand subsidiary Jetconnect less than mainline pilots.
AIPA says that the strategic legal action is aimed at stopping Qantas from “undermining the spirit and intent of the Fair Work Act” by employing Jetconnect pilots to operate trans-Tasman services under New Zealand conditions. AIPA says that Jetconnect pilots are paid around 40 per cent less than their Australian equivalents, and the move to use the subsidiary on the Tasman subverts Australian workplace law and threatens Australian jobs.
“Effectively Qantas is off-shoring trans Tasman flying via its offshoot Jetconnect. It is a deliberate strategy to drive down wages and conditions. There is not enough work for Qantas mainline pilots to do while at the same time Qantas sends our jobs offshore on lower rates of pay,” said AIPA president Captain Barry Jackson in a December 21 statement.
“I believe the community expectation of the Qantas Group is that if people are flying on Qantas planes then the pilots should be paid like Qantas pilots.”
AIPA says that it hopes the action, which has been lodged with Fair Work Australia, will prove an important test case to set limits on the off-shoring of jobs by Australian companies.