Qantas has won an industrial dispute with its pilots union after Fair Work Australia upheld the airline’s use of Jetconnect to operate Qantas trans-Tasman flights. The Australian and International Pilots Association (AIPA) sought to stop Qantas’ use of pilots from Jetconnect, a subsidiary of Qantas, which the union claimed was a ploy to avoid paying employees Australian wages. The tribunal found that pilots were paid under a negotiated, collective New Zealand industrial agreement, a legitimate commercial arrangement. Jetconnect operates 182 weekly services on the routes, while Qantas operates 52. Qantas said the decision is a victory for common sense, and stands by the Jetconnect brand. The decision is important for Qantas, which is looking to move into foreign markets through joint ventures allowing the airline to take advantage of lower labour costs.
Qantas: "New Zealanders living and working in New Zealand for a New Zealand company should be subject to New Zealand’s industrial laws and agreements and not to Australia’s industrial laws. The union [AIPA] should not be attempting to use Australia’s Fair Work Act to override the industrial relations legislation and industrial agreements in other countries. The decision by Fair Work Australia is a comprehensive dismissal of the pilots union’s claim that the establishment of Jetconnect was to avoid Australia’s industrial laws or disadvantage Qantas pilots. The fact is not one Qantas short-haul pilot has been made redundant since the establishment of Jetconnect." Olivia Wirth, spokeswoman. Source: Qantas, 06-Sep-2011. [more - original PR]