Friday, September 30, 2011

More claims Jetstar is exploiting staff

A former cabin attendant with Qantas's budget carrier Jetstar Airlines says flight safety is being endangered by some crew being forced to work extremely long shifts.

Former Jetstar employee Dallas Finn said he quit his job after two months because of concerns about safety and fatigue.

"I told them they had safety issues with the airline and it should be addressed," Mr Finn told ABC TV yesterday.

Based in Darwin, Mr Finn become a Jetstar flight attendant in June but quit two months later. He said he had filed an incident report about fatigue after flying five return international flights in five days, which had affected his sleep "drastically".

"The Ho Chi Minh flight is between a 12 and 13-hour day," he said. "They would actually change the pilots over in Ho Chi Minh but the cabin crew would have to fly back."

Mr Finn said his safety concerns arose after a pre-flight briefing at which the Singapore-based crew were unable to answer the emergency procedure and the medical question.

"It was the first time I've actually been scared of flying because if something went down I didn't actually know if that crew would be able to back me up," he said.

Jetstar said it investigated concerns about the skills of a crew member on a Melbourne-to-Darwin flight on July 17. "It was determined that the crew member satisfied proficiency requirements," the airline said in a statement.

The contract for Jetstar's Singapore-based flight attendants states that crew could work shifts for up to 20 hours but staff could be forced beyond that limit without consultation, the ABC said.

The supplier of cabin crew for Jetstar out of Singapore was Valuair, of which Qantas owned a 49 per cent share through Jetstar Asia.

A Singapore-based Jetstar cabin attendant said they had to accede to management's requests, even if they exceeded the conditions of their work contracts.

"If we complain about fatigue or long hours or bad flight rosters, the management's reply is, 'You signed a legal contract, so you have to do whatever that is'," the attendant told ABC TV.

But Jetstar said the airline did not roster 20-hour shifts. "The longest rostered shift is 15 hours and 20 minutes," it said. The carrier said the average rostered international cabin crew shift was about 10 to 11 hours.


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