Travel Agents

Flight Centre taken to court over alleged staff underpayment

Huntley Mitchell

Huntley Mitchell

Travel agency behemoth Flight Centre has been hit with Federal Court action by trade union Together Queensland over claims of systemic underpayment of employees.

The court action was launched on Friday based on the advice of Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, which has investigated the employee records of five Flight Centre staffers over the last six years.

The investigation found that Flight Centre failed to pay minimum wages, penalty and overtime rates, annual leave and leave loading at the correct rate to the five employees who have come forward, and did not provide the correct rest and meal breaks, according to Together Queensland.

Speaking at a press conference on Friday, Giri Sivaraman from Maurice Blackburn said the calculations for the five employees who were investigated revealed systematic underpayment totalling approximately $250,000.

“What we are saying is Flight Centre has a really dubious pay structure,” he said.

“It means that people are getting paid under the modern retail award, which is the award that they’ve got to comply with, and we’ve brought this claim in the name of the union, Together union, on behalf of the five employees who we say are owed $250,000.”

Flight Centre’s argument is that it has top-up payments for employees whose earnings don’t meet the award level with their retainer and commission. However, Sivaraman said its argument doesn’t stack up.

“We accept that there are some commissions and top-ups. The point is, the is a pay structure where, on your salary, you will earn less than the award,” he said.

“Then there are these at-risk payments that you may never meet – only if you get sales will you get there – that might mean that you get up to the basic safety net; the award level.

“You can’t offset commissions against what you’re entitled to under an award. And with the top-ups, they’re random, inconsistent payments, there’s no rationale, we don’t understand when they’re paid and whether you actually get up to the award level anyway.”

Travel Weekly has contacted Flight Centre for comment.

The court action coincided with Flight Centre’s announcement of a lower profit guidance for FY19 due to its underperforming leisure travel operations in Australia.

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Aviation

British Airways suspends flights to Cairo

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has updated its travel advice to Egypt in line with this move by the UK airline.

Share

CommentComments

Events

Tourism

NTIA 2019 winners revealed!

Did you attend the NTIAs as a finalist but got so blind that you can’t remember if you won? All is revealed here.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Passenger cops $150,000 fine for “one of the most serious cases” of flight disruption

Turns out there are serious consequences for disruptive mid-flight behaviour, especially if it’s so bad that you prompt a military escort like this woman did.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Industry heavyweight urges stronger regulations for commercial Airbnb operators

It turns out around 50 per cent of Airbnbs are commercially run, as opposed to travellers renting out their space or uni students listing their cupboards for a quick buck.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

Wholesaler wrap: Chimu Adventures milestone, AAT Kings deals extended + more!

It’s Monday, and Travel Weekly has just the thing to help you sober up from the NTIAs (and no, it’s not a Bloody Mary): a wholesaler wrap!

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Boeing dedicates more than $70 million to families for 737 MAX near-term relief

by Christian Fleetwood

Boeing expects to recognise an impact to earnings as a result of the 737 MAX grounding when it releases its second-quarter results this week.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

STUDY: Aussie travellers among the most confused and inconsistent tippers

Ever arrived in a new country and realised you have no idea who you’re supposed to tip for what? Find a few handy pointers for you and your clients right here.

Share

CommentComments

Events

Tourism

Travel DAZE early bird ticket deal ends Friday, with a further 15 per cent off all week!

We’ve taken the early bird ticket deal to the next level with a 15 per cent discount for this week only! You can thank us by sending chocolates and booze.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Airline apologises after Tweeting which seats are least likely to survive a crash

It’s something we’ve all thought about while mid-air, but do we really want to know which seats are most likely to survive a plane crash? Well, thanks to this airline, we now have an answer.

Share

CommentComments

Breaking News

Wholesalers

Wendy Wu comments on CEO departure

Much like Elvis, Wendy Wu Tours’ global CEO has officially left the building. Here’s what the lady herself had to say about it.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Flavour of the Week: Small Group Touring Co.’s new recruit, Linkd Tourism secures Port of Seattle + MORE!

Flavour of the Week induces two things on a Friday: nostalgia over Craig David and a succession of travel professionals falling asleep at their desks.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Airbnb’s giant ‘Wienermobile’ is sure to satisfy your hot-dog-loving clients

by Christian Fleetwood

In what is a quintessential Friday story, Travel Weekly has delivered this ‘franktastic’ and ‘blunderful’ news for all your hot-dog-loving clients.

Share

CommentComments