Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has accused AIPA (the Australian and International Pilots Association) of playing the “safety card” when it is instead waging an industrial dispute over Jetstar’s sacking of first officer Joe Eakins for a recent newspaper article, noting that Eakins had breached Jetstar’s code of conduct.
“When something is related to industrial relations issues and it’s a breach of the code of conduct we’re going to act in that way,” Joyce told ABC TV’s Inside Business program in an interview which aired on November 28. “And again, for the union to use this as an example and use this to say it’s all about safety is them using the safety card for industrial relations. It’s purely that yet again. It is outrageous that they keep doing this.”
Said Joyce of Eakins’ actions, “He was given opportunities to come in and talk about why he was doing it and to correct the action. He refused to come in and talk to the management and the management were left with no other action but to actually terminate his employment.”
Joyce also defended Jetstar’s decision to base pilots in Singapore on Singaporean wages and conditions, Eakins’ key point of contention in his newspaper article.
“What the pilots in Singapore are actually employed to fly for [is] Jetstar Asia which is a Singapore entity, flying and competing against all of the carriers in the region and the pilots are paid quite well,” Joyce said.
“They’re paid in the top few per cent of the population in that country.”
Meanwhile, AIPA has launched a petition protesting the sacking, which will be sent to Jetstar Australia and NZ CEO David Hall, and a support fund to raise money for Eakins.
“You can be sure that this event is a turning point for Australian aviation. Pilots’ jobs and the safety regime they fly by is under attack by airlines, particularly aggressive low cost carriers such as Jetstar that pretend to welcome feedback but sack people when that feedback is too clear and too compelling to hear,” AIPA posted on the pprune.org website.
“You can also be sure that AIPA will devote whatever is required to assist Joe Eakins return to his career as a pilot.”