Jetstar is accused of exploiting cheap foreign cabin crew on Australian domestic routes paying them a base rate of $100 a week.
Industrial advocates say the airline is using a loophole in the law to use the cheap labour.
Jetstar accused of exploiting cheap foreign cabin crew
The airline is using Thai-based crew on its Darwin-Adelaide route, the ABC’s 7.30 program reports.
Some staff believe the practice is illegal, however, Jetstar maintains it is doing nothing wrong.
The budget airline argues migration regulations allow the use of foreign crews on international “tag flights”.
“Tag flights” happen when a domestic sector is added to an existing international flight.
Jetstar ‘exploiting the system’
Industrial advocate Miles Heffernan from Industrial Relations Claims says Jetstar is using a loophole to get around the law.
“They are exploiting the system to save a few bucks,” he said.
“All Jetstar has to do is label a domestic flight part of an international route – and they can subsequently use cheap overseas cabin crew.”
Mr Heffernan’s suspicions are supported by a Jetstar pilot who confirmed to the ABC that the Darwin-Adelaide return flights are not international flights.
“All the passengers get on in Adelaide and get off in Darwin.
“They use domestic terminals, domestic ticketing and domestic security checks.”
‘We need a fair working place’
Thai-based cabin crew work on popular holiday routes to Bali and Thailand on shifts lasting up to 20 hours.
Many claim they struggle to feed themselves on the amount they are paid.
Pojchara Kosolchuenvijit quit the company two weeks ago telling the ABC the long work hours pose a risk to passenger safety.
“There are safety concerns because of the fatigue.
“The crew should be fit at all times.
“It’s the crew that would help the passengers in an emergency.”
The Thai-based cabin crew earn about $13 an hour when they are in the air.
Additionally, they also receive a travel allowance of $60 for every 36 hours they are away from home.
In comparison, Australian crew receive $128 a night.
“I know it’s part of the business model to have cheap labour, but we are human and it’s 2018.
“We don’t need discrimination, we need a fair working place, We need enough money to live.”
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Jetstar claims arrangements ‘complied with Australian law’
However, Jetstar argues all employee arrangements comply with Australian law.
“Our Thai-based crew take home on average $2,600 a month, depending on seniority, which is five times the average monthly Thai salary.”
Mr Heffernan points out that Thai cabin crew have more expenses because they spend a lot of time away from home.
“That salary might be okay if they lived in Bangkok full-time, however, the reality is these workers spend a lot of time in Australia where the cost of living is higher,” he said.
“There is a cost to cheap flights and budget airlines, and these Thai-based cabin crew are paying the price.”
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