Qantas Airways is being called on to stop substandard employment practices when it takes on up to 1000 former Impulse Airlines employees under the companies’ joint relationship arrangement announced today.

“The former Impulse employees will now be wearing Qantas uniforms and deserve the same terms and conditions as all other Qantas workers,” ACTU President Sharan Burrow said.

“Qantas cannot rely on cheap labour and still maintain its commitment to first-class safety and service standards.

“Compared to Qantas employees, the former Impulse staff are 25 per cent worse off under a complicated corporate structure that avoids payroll tax and WorkCover obligations paid by every other employer.

“The ACTU is not opposed to this move by Qantas and we look forward to talking with them about Impulse’s staff. But the ACTU and the aviation industry unions want an assurance from Qantas that they will put a stop to this rort.”

Under an elaborate corporate structure, Impulse used a workforce contracted from Air Crews Control, making pilots and flight attendants unit trust holders who received dividends instead of wages, even though they were paid for hours worked.

Airline unions have challenged the Impulse arrangement in the Australian Industrial Relations Commission.