Jetstar wants NZ pilots despite court date

By Brendan Manning

Jetstar is due in the Federal Court in Sydney on August 31. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Jetstar is due in the Federal Court in Sydney on August 31. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Jetstar will be telling aspiring New Zealand pilots about career opportunities with the budget airline at an open day in Hamilton a week after it is due in court to face allegations it ripped off trainee Kiwi pilots.

Jetstar First Officer Will Barnes will be on hand at CTC Aviation Training (NZ) Ltd's open day on September 8 to give attendees information about career opportunities with Jetstar.

Ian Calvert, chief executive of the CTC airline pilot training school in Hamilton, said the open day was a great opportunity for young people to learn more about Jetstar's Ab-Initio cadet programme "intended for people with limited or no previous flying experience".

"Our open days are an excellent way for aspiring pilots to meet with one of our airline partners, and hear about how we work with our graduates to help them find opportunities for employment in the industry," Mr Calvert said.

Jetstar is due in the Federal Court in Sydney on August 31 for a directions hearing on charges of mistreating trainee New Zealand pilots.

Australia's Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) is suing Jetstar over claims it contravened workplace laws when it hired the trainee pilots.

The work the pilots performed was exclusively in Australia but the airline erroneously told them their employment was governed by New Zealand laws, not Australian laws, during the training period, according to the Ombudsman.

It alleges Qantas-owned Jetstar sought to have the six New Zealanders hired pay the cost of their own training despite this being prohibited under the Australian Air Pilots Award.

The pilots reimbursed Jetstar A$17,500 between June and September 2011 before the practice ceased.

Jetstar refunded the money in November 2011 as a "goodwill gesture".

The Ombudsman also alleged Jetstar didn't pay the trainees superannuation, a requirement under Australian employment law, during their training period.

"Multinational companies with wholly or partly-owned overseas enterprises need to exercise caution and care if they engage workers under those entities and then have them work in Australia,'' Ombudsman Nicholas Wilson said.

The maximum penalty faced by Jetstar and its New Zealand subsidiary is A$33,000 per breach.

Jetstar has said it will defend the claims and has already paid cadets any shortfall between New Zealand and Australian superannuation as a gesture of goodwill.

- APNZ

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