Australia’s labour umpire claims Jetstar is staffing domestic flights with Thai workers paid as little as half the required rate for Australian air crew.
In litigation filed on Friday in the Federal Court, the Fair Work Ombudsman alleged that Jetstar employed the crew through a pair of staffing companies, Singapore-based Valuair and Thailand-based Tour East. Both companies are partly owned by Jetstar-parent Qantas and both provide staff exclusively to Jetstar, Fair Work said.
“The Fair Work Ombudsman alleges Jetstar Airways was knowingly a party to underpayment conventions,” the labour umpire said in a statement. “It alleges Jetstar rosters the foreign cabin crews onto its Australian domestic flights and is aware of the rates they are being paid.”
The case filed today covers eight Thai workers, but Fair Work said it was considering taking further action for up to 300 international cabin crew rostered across Jetstar’s domestic network. Fair Work is asking the court to order Valuair and Tour East to pay the eight works more than $7500 in back pay and is also seeking penalties against Jetstar.
The case centres on Fair Work’s contention that cabin crew hired overseas were entitled to rates stipulated under the Aircraft Cabin Crew Award 2010 while working on Australian domestic routes.
The case, which is due for a hearing on August 17, is the second filed this year against Jetstar by the labour umpire. In April, Fair Work took Jetstar to court over allegations the budget carrier paid trainee pilots in Australia under cheaper New Zealand contracts.