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Fair Work signs off on Tigerair Australia pilot contract

written by australianaviation.com.au | June 12, 2019

Australia’s Fair Work Commission has signed off on a new enterprise agreement between Tigerair Australia and its pilots.

The approval comes after Tigerair Australia management and the unions negotiating on behalf of pilots agreed to a new work contract in March 2019.

The pilots then voted in favour of the deal, which replaces a previous enterprise agreement that expired in 2017, and submitted it to the Fair Work Commission for approval.

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In early 2019, when negotiations were still ongoing, Tigerair Australia pilots took a four-hour work stoppage on January 25 and declined to work on rostered days off, annual leave days or days free of duty between January 4-7 and 11-17 as part of protected industrial action.

The Australian Federation of Air Pilots (AFAP), which represents about 150 of the 190 pilots employed by Tigerair Australia, said it was pleased the parties could put negotiations behind them.

“The Australian Federation of Air Pilots is pleased with the outcome for its Tigerair pilot members and is confident that a fair deal has been reached for both Tigerair pilots and the company,” AFAP senior industrial officer Patrick Larkins said in a statement on Sunday.

“This resolution frees up management to focus on getting Tigerair’s fleet transition to the B737 from the A320 organised properly and to recruit pilots using the competitive salaries and conditions now on offer.

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“The AFAP is pleased to have achieved its goal of ensuring Tigerair pilots are remunerated to properly reflect the market value of their labour when compared with their counterparts at other airlines.”

The new work contract was signed off on June 3 and expires in June 2022.

It included an initial 16 per cent pay increase for Tigerair Australia pilots, achieved in part through rolling five-hours of overtime into the base rate. There would also be three annual 2.5 per cent increases starting in December 2019.

Further, there was also a 36 per cent increase in pilots’ flight hour rate, or overtime rate, over the three-year agreement.

Tigerair Australia pilots would also be back paid for the period to December 2017 given they received no increase during negotiating period, the AFAP said.

The AFAP said the agreement also kept fixed rosters of five days on and three days off in place, while adding “protections around duty changes that allow pilots to better plan their lives”.

Meanwhile, the AFAP said it had agreed to changes that gave Tigerair Australia management “greater efficiency in rostering pilots when under training”.

Tigerair Australia, which is a wholly-owned unit of Virgin Australia, is currently in the midst of transitioning from the Airbus A320 to the Boeing 737-800. It currently has four 737-800s and 11 A320s, according to its website.

The low-cost carrier (LCC) posted underlying earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) loss of $8 million for the six months to December 31 2018, broadly in line with an underlying EBIT loss of $8.3 million in the prior corresponding period.

Revenue was flat at $302.6 million, Virgin Australia said at its 2018/19 first half results presentation in February.

Virgin Australia said the EBIT result was impacted by “accelerated depreciation from fleet transition”.

The agreement was signed by both the AFAP and the Virgin Independent Pilots Association (VIPA). It can be read in full on the Fair Work Commission website.

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