Friday, March 11, 2011

We're not trying to sidestep IR laws on training: Jetstar

JETSTAR has rejected accusations that its cadet training scheme is a sham designed to evade the Australian industrial relations system and pay trainees in New Zealand dollars.

The Australian and International Pilots Association has written to the federal ministers for finance and workplace relations asking for investigation into whether Jetstar's cadet scheme flouts Australian workplace and tax laws.

The move comes after three cadets from a New Zealand-based training scheme were stood down operationally after they completed their line training. The association says the advanced cadets were asked to go to New Zealand for three days of observational flying, during which time they received Kiwi bank accounts and tax file numbers.

They then did their endorsement training in Britain and their line training in Australia while being paid in New Zealand dollars.

"They've always been resident in Australia, always been flying in Australia, they've never been resident in New Zealand," AIPA vice-president Richard Woodward said, noting that New Zealand legislation prevented the cadets from flying a jet in that country.
one of the cadets was sitting in a Sydney hotel room on allowances and no pay, and another was at home with his girlfriend while they waited for operational clearance.

"It's a total sham,"  "One of the cadets was bright enough to ring the tax office and say: 'If I'm flying an Australian-registered aircraft and I'm an Australian citizen, should I be paid Australian wages and be paying Australian tax?' The answer was yes, so he was a bit concerned."

Jetstar denied it was not paying the cadets and said it was always the intention to switch the pilots to Australian contracts when their training was completed.

Jetstar spokesman Simon Westaway said cadets were trained by CTC in Hamilton and were on New Zealand individual employment agreements during training. He said cadets were being paid in full while unable to fly in Australia.

He said a delay in the paperwork was because the system was new but future transitions would be "much more seamless". "We hadn't to this time finalised an Australian contract for our cadet program," he said.

Mr Westaway said the cadets had been flying in Australia because the airline's check and training organisation was predominantly positioned here.

Neha Jain

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