Qantas (Jetstar) needs to focus on standards, not just profit

Release date: 3/08/2010

Following Qantas (Jetstar’s) push to drop passenger checks on trans-Tasman traffic the Transport Workers Union has demanded any changes are conditional on all flights meeting Australian standards.

Transport Workers Union’s National Airport Official, Scott Connolly, said Australian flights should meet Australian standards. 

“This is Australia, these are Australian flights, they must meet Australian standards.

“Low-performance carriers can become Low-care carriers, regional initiatives have to set out the standards that make sure they don’t. Australia needs to lead on this.

“If we simplify borders, immigration checks and passenger charges it must benefit the Australian public, workers and passengers. These changes could be used as excuses for lowering Australian standards and conditions, which wouldn’t be good for anybody.

“If a New Zealander gets paid half as much to take a job away from an Australian, it’s not good for the New Zealander and it’s not good for the Australian, and when every Australian community could use more jobs, not less, it’s not good for Australia.”

Based on the release of an Access Economics study, commissioned by the Qantas operated subsidiary Jetstar, Jetstar advocated dropping local immigration checks and passenger charges for New Zealand bound flights as the report suggested this would lead to an increase in business for the carrier. Mr Connolly said there are more important things to think about.

“The safety of every passenger must be the priority. Part of this is looking at workers standards and conditions.

“That means New Zealand or regional workers, working in Australia, should work to the same standards, in the same conditions as any Australian. That’s simple, that’s safe, that’s fair.”

Mr Connolly pointed to the recent controversy of Qantas paying its New Zealand pilots up to 40 per cent less than their Australian counterparts.

“Look at a Qantas pilot from NZ; worse conditions, less superannuation entitlements and paid one third less than a Qantas pilot from Australia, that’s prime example of what double standards can lead to.”

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