Jetstar will defend claims it was required to apply Australian workplace law while cadets employed through its New Zealand business trained with experienced pilots in Australia.
The claims were lodged today by the Fair Work Ombudsman in the Federal Court of Australia. This follows several months of discussion between Jetstar and the Ombudsman to clarify the matter.
These claims relate to cadet pilots employed in late 2010 by a Jetstar New Zealand subsidiary for work on its New Zealand domestic network. However, subsequent to the cadets being engaged in New Zealand under New Zealand terms and conditions, CASA required that the cadets be rostered from an Australian east coast base for at least one year to ensure an appropriate level of supervision with access to some of the most experienced Jetstar pilots.
Cadets were subsequently moved to Australian contracts designed to conform with the Australian modern award in early 2011. After discussions with cadets and unions, the cadets were then placed on Jetstar’s Australian EBA in September 2011. Cadets are currently finalising their 12 months of close supervision and will then be eligible for permanent roles across the Jetstar group of companies in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Japan, Vietnam and ultimately Hong Kong.
The claims lodged today by the Fair Work Ombudsman relate to lower employer superannuation contributions in New Zealand compared with Australia. As a goodwill gesture, Jetstar has already paid cadets any shortfall between New Zealand and Australian superannuation contributions.
The Ombudsman also claims Jetstar should have reimbursed training costs for the period of time before cadets were placed on Jetstar’s Australian EBA. These costs were repaid to the cadets when they were brought on to the Australian EBA as a further goodwill gesture.
Jetstar takes its responsibilities as an employer very seriously and adheres to the different workplace regulations in each of the jurisdictions it operates in.