Sacked Ansett pilots take action
SACKED Ansett pilots have taken legal action against company administrators saying the selection process for the revamped airline was "on the nose".
Twenty-eight A320 Airbus pilots have been overlooked for jobs with the new, streamlined Ansett operation.
Instead, Boeing pilots with no experience flying the Airbus have been offered jobs flying Ansett's Airbus fleet.
The retraining will cost the airline's new owners, Tesna Holdings, about $4 million, a lawyer representing the pilots said.
Brian Austin from Minter Ellison in Adelaide said action was being taken against the administrators and the Ansett Pilots Association (APA), whose management supervised the selection process.
Disgruntled pilots said employees' home base, age and "mates" seemed to take consideration over experience when the 340 pilots needed by Tesna were selected.
APA management overlooked experienced Airbus pilots and ensured jobs for themselves, pilots said.
Sacked pilots who had little chance of finding work in the depressed aviation industry would be asking for positions with the new airline, Mr Austin said.
"If they can't get a job, they are looking for compensation for a selection process that looks like it was on the nose," he said.
A separate action was also being taken against administrators over the capping of pilots' redundancy payouts.
The selection criteria for the 340 pilot jobs, sent to employees in late November, indicated pilots in the bottom five per cent of standards were automatically taken out of the running.
Those with "overwhelming management support" were short-listed.
Mr Austin said pilots who contacted him after being made redundant assured him they did not fall into the bottom five per cent.
"No one's given them a reason why they weren't selected," Mr Austin said.
Unsuccessful pilots were told not to bother returning to work to complete their roster.
"They were notified on December 27 and stood down immediately even though many were rostered on until the end of January," Mr Austin said.
He said pilots did not believe Tesna principals Solomon Lew and Lindsay Fox were responsible for the selection.
"They don't seem like people who want to lose money," he said.
Mr Austin said applications on behalf of three pilots would be placed before the Adelaide Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC) on Monday.
More were expected to join the action.
"Many pilots have their suspicions why (they were overlooked) and they will be the subject of some submissions in the commission," he said.
Comment is being sought from the APA, Tesna and Ansett's administrators.