Alan Joyce was the highest paid CEO in Australia last year. Picture: AAP Image/Bianca De Marchi
Alan Joyce was the highest paid CEO in Australia last year. Picture: AAP Image/Bianca De Marchi

Qantas boss's $24m pay makes Jetstar pilot’s ‘blood boil’

A Jetstar pilot says the $24 million salary pocketed by chief executive Alan Joyce makes his "blood boil" as the company's aviators continue to fight for a wage increase.

The budget airline's pilots have been locked in a dispute over an enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA) that expired in April.

Since then, Jetstar has met regularly with the pilots' union to try to resolve the disagreement, but an international captain told Qantas-employed union reps were "disgusted that Mr Joyce receives that level of remuneration".

He said he felt compelled to speak out after recent articles revealed the Qantas chief executive was the country's top-earning CEO, taking home a staggering $23,876,351 last year.

"When I read an article like yours knowing what I've endured over the last 10 years at Jetstar and you see Alan Joyce walking away with $24 million, it makes my blood boil," the captain said.

"There is a lot of unhappy frontline workers from the pilots upset at his tactics of wage freezes."

The pilot, who spoke anonymously due to contractual commitments with the airline, said the pilots' 3 per cent wage increase limit had translated into a wage reduction because of the speed of modern airlines.

"The Dreamliner (787) is 4 per cent quicker than the Airbus it replaced, it's a very fast aircraft," the captain said.

"We got a 3 per cent pay rise on an aircraft that flies 4 per cent quicker and we get paid by the flight hour, so it was actually a pay cut."

Jetstar refused to drawn on this particular claim.

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Jetstar is a subsidiary of Qantas. Picture: Jetstar
Jetstar is a subsidiary of Qantas. Picture: Jetstar


But a spokesperson from the airline told that although the EBA's nominal expiry was in April, it remained in place while the relevant parties nutted out a resolution.

"Since January, we've been in regular and constructive conversations with bargaining representatives about a new enterprise agreement," the spokesperson said.

"There are a number of complex areas to discuss and working through them takes time, but we are committed to do so and optimistic that we will reach an agreement."

The Jetstar pilot said one of the areas of dispute in the discussions was the quality of the food fed to staff while flying, which he provided images of.


The pilot says the meals are ‘disgusting’.
The pilot says the meals are ‘disgusting’.


Jetstar denies claims the food is insufficient.
Jetstar denies claims the food is insufficient.


"That's the standard crew meal for a captain on a 10-hour Jetstar flight - it's pretty disgusting," he said.

"When I'm trapped at work, it's not like I do a regular job and I can duck off, have 15 minutes out and get a coffee and grab a bite.

"I'm on an aircraft for up to 16 hours. It would be nice to have a meal fit to eat. It's not much."

The pilot said the meals were insufficient, but Jetstar told it provided a range of other snacks to supplement up to two meals a flight.

Those snacks included sandwiches, fresh fruit, nuts and yoghurt.

"Meals for our pilots are designed in consultation with qualified dietitians and pilots, and are changed based on pilot feedback," the spokesperson said.

"They include a variety of options and snacks to support the nutritional needs and taste preferences of our crew."

The relevant union for the industry, the Australian Federation of Air Pilots, said EBA negotiations were under way but the issue with the food "continues to disappoint the Jetstar pilots".


The Reserve Bank of Australia boss Philip Lowe criticised the extraordinary salaries of Australia's CEOs last month after Mr Joyce's wage was revealed.

Dr Lowe compared the absurd bonuses among the business community's elite with the stagnant wage growth of regular Australians, which he said should be raised by more than 3 per cent.

"As a regular Australian, it disturbs me," he said during a speech to the Armidale Chamber of Commerce.

"Some people who are paid extraordinarily high amounts of money and working Australians have relatively low wages and getting small wage increases, I think it's an issue for society."


RBA governor Philip Lowe says he’s disturbed by CEO salaries. Picture: David Moir/Bloomberg
RBA governor Philip Lowe says he’s disturbed by CEO salaries. Picture: David Moir/Bloomberg


Dr Lowe pockets a base salary of $903,000 and said he rejected the chance of a performance-based salary structure.

He said CEOs shouldn't be rewarded with an incentive for doing their job.

"I've got a flat salary and I say to my board, 'Look, don't consider performance because you know I'm going to work as hard for you and for the people who show up regardless,'" he said.

"Actually, I think a lot of people are like that.

"I don't need the incentives. My incentive is to do a good job for the people."

Is Alan Joyce's wage reasonable? Comment below | @James_P_Hall |