Jetstar has reinstated sacked First Officer Joe Eakins, after reaching an out of court settlement over his unfair dismissal case.
“Following discussions directly with Jetstar, I am pleased to accept the airline’s offer to be reinstated and immediately return to my role as an A330 first officer,” Eakins said in a joint statement with Jetstar.
“I apologise for any inference that might have been drawn from my comments that I was questioning Jetstar’s safety culture because that was certainly not my intention. I acknowledge that I made public statements in regards to Jetstar’s safety system and its safe flying operations, its Pan Asian network growth strategy and the level of remuneration of Jetstar pilots employed in Singapore that could mislead the public and had the potential to damage Jetstar’s reputation. This is something I did not intend and which I regret doing and Jetstar has accepted my apology for this.”
Eakins, a representative of the Australian and International Pilots Association (AIPA) pilot union, was sacked after he wrote an article for The Age newspaper which criticised Jetstar’s move to hire and base aircrew in Singapore. Eakins was dismissed for breaching the airline’s code of conduct, and subsequently, with support of AIPA, launched an unfair dismissal case with Fair Work Australia.
“Jetstar management have pulled back from the brink and that is a good, commonsense outcome,” AIPA president Barry Jackson said in a statement.
“There was huge strength of feeling amongst pilots about such extraordinary, punitive action by the management team and we were also very confident about the legal position we were taking to Fair Work, that Joes sacking was an unfair dismissal and an adverse action against a union delegate.”
Eakins will resume employment on his previous terms and conditions, and will resume his same position on the Jetstar seniority list.
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