On 21 August, a Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission handed down another important decision in favour of the AFAP, this time against Regional Express (Rex). The decision reinforces our view that daily travel allowance (DTA) is paid from sign on at home base until sign-off at home base, even when a pilot is doing a temporary transfer.
By way of background, late last year Rex made the decision to send pilots on temporary transfers of up to 27 days. The concept of ‘forced’ temporary transfers was new to the Rex pilot group, and after we could not agree on satisfactory terms for the transfers, the AFAP commenced a dispute in the Fair Work Commission. This dispute ultimately centred on whether pilots are entitled to DTA for the entire period spent away from home base on a temporary transfer.
The initial hearing of the matter took place in February 2017 before Deputy President Clancy of the Commission. While DP Clancy did not accept the main arguments put forward by Rex, he still found against the AFAP on other grounds.
The Rex Council and AFAP industrial staff carefully reviewed this initial decision before coming to the view that it contained errors that were sufficiently serious to justify an appeal to a Full Bench of the Commission.
The matter was heard on 14 June 2017, and in a comprehensive decision handed down on 21 August 2017, the Full Bench upheld the appeal, and determined that DTA is payable for the entire period of a temporary transfer.
This is a reassuring victory, with the Full Bench making a thorough assessment of the relevant historical material which will be useful for other potential cases.
For those interested, a full copy of the decision is attached.
The matter was managed by Senior Industrial Officer, James Lauchland who ran the initial case and instructed counsel in our successful appeal.
Please note: this case is separate to the Rex Cadet Matter (involving that infamous letter to cadets) which is currently before the High Court and due for hearing on 12 September 2017 in Melbourne.