A Jetstar A330 first officer has been sacked by the airline for “multiple breaches” of its code of conduct after he wrote an article for The Age newspaper criticising Jetstar’s plans to establish a Singapore base using Australian registered aircraft.
In the article, published in mid November, Joseph Eakins, who is also a union representative of the Australian and International Pilots Association (AIPA), claimed pilots working out of Singapore would be working on “contracts that cut basic remuneration by almost 50 per cent,” and labelled Singapore as a “base of convenience”.
“While the conditions of flightcrew have come under the knife, Jetstar chief executive Bruce Buchanan has been promoted by creating an additional layer of management between himself and operational staff, and in doing so has been rewarded with a 43 per cent pay rise,” the article read, adding that, “What (Qantas CEO Alan) Joyce is trying to do is to distract the public gaze from the real point of contention, which is having an Australian carrier operating on Australian routes, but having employees paid ‘Asian rates’ through artificially manufactured overseas bases.”
After the sacking was revealed by an AIPA release, Jetstar held a media conference to explain its decision. “Jetstar management actively sought to resolve this issue on numerous occasions but was unsuccessful,” Jetstar Australia and New Zealand CEO David Hall said. “We regret that we were forced to take action in relation to this matter.
In addressing the claims made by Eakins in his article, Hall said “In the past, and moving forward, our pilots based in Singapore achieve better take home pay in comparison to our Australian pilots. Assertions of a 50 per cent discrepancy in pilot pay between Australia and Singapore or circumvention of existing industrial law are patently false.”
For its part the AIPA says “Joe’s bravery in blowing the whistle on some of these practices has been rewarded by an unfair dismissal. The association will be taking Joe’s case to Fair Work Australia claiming unfair dismissal and making an “adverse action” claim under untested Fair Work laws.”
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