Reach of the Fair Work Act

Technicalities are alive and well. The Federal Court has thrown out an attempt by the Fair Work Ombudsman to have penalties applied to Jetstar and two foreign based companies bound by service agreements with Jetstar to pay remuneration under the Australian Aircraft Cabin Crew Award to cabin crew flying routes in Australia which had their origin or final destination in Singapore and Thailand. The court concluded that those companies were not national system employers and that in the case of Jetstar the cabin crew were not national system employees.
Justice Buchanan ruled that the FWO’s argument that the overseas-based crew, who sometimes worked on flights within Australia, after flying-in on Jetstar flights from either Singapore or Thailand, was based on an ‘”arbitrary” distinction that “pays insufficient regard to operational realities”.
“Those internal flights were part of Jetstar’s international network, rather than its domestic network and were crewed by international flight and cabin crew rather than domestic flight or cabin crew,” he said.

Fair Work Ombudsman v Valuair Limited (No 2) [2014] FCA 759 (24 July 2014)