Four QF pilots stood down over alleged allowance fraud

Discussion in 'Travel News' started by markis10, Apr 21, 2014.

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  1. markis10

    markis10 Veteran Member

    Nov 25, 2004
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    FOUR senior Qantas pilots, including a captain, have been suspended from flying duties and removed from an ongoing training course after the discovery of an alleged expenses rort involving tens of thousands of dollars at the airline.


    The pilots are under internal investigation for claiming almost $20,000 each from cash-strapped Qantas as an allowance for living away from their homes for the duration of the Sydney-based course, which is mandatory to upgrade their skills.


    Senior sources told The Australian yesterday that the pilots had falsely purported that their NSW homes were more than 200km from Sydney. This meant they would have been entitled to about $18,000 each in allowances over the 12 weeks of the course.

    https://sslcam.news.com.au/cam/authorise?channel=pc&url=http%3a%2f%2fwww.theaustralian.com.au%2fbusiness%2faviation%2fqantas-pilots-stood-down-over-fraud-claim%2fstory-e6frg95x-1226890706495
     

  2. Aussie_flyer

    Aussie_flyer Established Member

    Apr 26, 2009
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    Way to go , hurt your employer when they are hurting badly themselves. disgusting
     
  3. anat0l

    anat0l Enthusiast

    Dec 30, 2006
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    I would like to think this behaviour is unethical and reprehensible irrespective of the employer, their image or their financial position.


    Naturally, there are some out there who would suggest that Qantas' executive are responsible for this culture due to their indiscriminate lack of treatment of the workforce, including mass job cuts. I guess if you were sitting around a barbeque with these pilots and they were griping about the company, would you sympathise with them over a "mere $20,000"?
     
  4. Melburnian1

    Melburnian1 Enthusiast

    Jun 7, 2013
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    #4 Melburnian1, Apr 21, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2014
    Rorting allegations

    I stress that these are only allegations. Nothing is proven, nor is the investigation finished. The suggestion is that this involves B737 pilots:

    Cookies must be enabled. | The Australian

    If true, it is a serious matter. While in a public position not private enterprise as these QF pilots are, the former NSW Premier lost his job for (at least in terms of dollar value) a much lesser 'offence' (although obviously standards are different for parliamentarians, because we all elect them hoping that they will abide by often not codified conduct codes). Nonetheless the former NSW Premier has not been accused of corrupt conduct nor can he recall the $3000 bottle of wine. It's all about perceptions though in his case.

    If proven, it will be interesting to see if QF contact the police or merely internally discipline the staff - whether that means demotion or sacking, only QF would know.

    Mind you, the requirement for claiming this allowance to be 'living more than 200 kilometres from Sydney' is rather strict. Surely if an employee lived more than 150 kilometres away it might be unreasonable to expect him to go home every night and return with a long commuting time by train or car early next morning? It is true that many employees now live in Bendigo and work in Melbourne, commuting by train each day (320 kilometres return), as they may Newcastle or Wyong to Sydney, but it's a long day even if one listens to an MP3 or reads the paper on the train.

    The flight attendant comment about knocking off small amounts of grog from the FLIGHT deck must refer to 'galley' instead. That should not be condoned, because staff at big employers such as Coles get sacked for stealing any stock.

    Readers are already posting some anti pilot comments on 'The Australian' Internet site.
     
  5. A330 driver

    A330 driver Junior Member

    Oct 7, 2011
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    Re: Rorting allegations

    Without knowing all of the facts in this case, I would make an early attempt of making a guess on this issue as one of Qantas trying to save money and this is their way of trying to get out of paying allowances. Let me elaborate...

    Whenever a pilot undergoes 737 training (a course which runs for quite a few months, as any course does) they MUST do all of their training out of Melbourne, this is regardless of the fact that they might be based in Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, etc. During that time Qantas is obligated, as any employer is, to pay for expenses such as accom, food, transport, etc. As pilots we have a few choices in this, we can elect for Qantas to put us up in a hotel and provide transport to and from training when required, or we can elect to receive all of the allowances in advance in a lump sum and we are on our own as far as everything. Almost every pilot elects to get the lump sum allowance, for a few reasons. Nobody wants to live in a hotel for months at a time and prefers to hire a serviced apartment where family can visit them, and it is much quieter. Remember, we study for 12+ hours on days off and we want peace and quiet. We want our own cars as opposed to having to use a transfer service, more independence and more reliable. There are a few locations near serviced apartments that have restaurants/cafes/supermarkets which is good for long term stay. Our hotel does NOT have all of this close by which means you really dont have much ability to walk around the corner to pick up bread and milk. Now for what I see as the crux of the issue. There are times during training where you are given days off, depending on your training progress you might be ahead of the game and decide to go home (in another city) and be with your family for a few days. I think this is what Qantas has taken issue with as they are essentially saying "we're paying you for those few days but you're not in melbourne". Whether people are being a bit too liberal with this I don't know, but this is my guess as to whats happened. FYI, during this training we are often away from home for months at a time and would get to see our families once every couple of weeks (unless they moved to Melbourne as well). As with anything, I feel as though this has been put in the media and it has made us look extremely bad but I have failed to read any facts of the case as yet.
     
    • Like Like x 5
  6. Hvr

    Hvr Senior Member

    Jun 27, 2007
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    Re: Rorting allegations

    Thanks for explaining how training works A330 driver.

    I have seen fraud bring down employees at all levels and often for piddling amounts compared to what thier employment package is worth.

    However, unless an employer properly addresses these allegations, i.e. investigates, prosecutes and recover their losses and if proven punishes the offenders severely it does lead to a culture where anything goes.

    As noted these are only allegations at the moment. It will be interesting to hear of the outcome in due course.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  7. under the radar

    under the radar Established Member

    Apr 8, 2010
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    #7 under the radar, Apr 21, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2014
    Re: Rorting allegations

    i'll bet my bottom dollar that many....many...many people in their 'everyday' jobs...'misclaim' on 'stuff' and 'use''take'(steal) 'stuff' from their employer (without 'realizing' it) :D
    (if it's proven)...I don't condone the pilots 'situation'...i'm just highlighting to varying degrees it happens everyday/everywhere...and some just get 'caught out'!! :shock:
     
  8. anat0l

    anat0l Enthusiast

    Dec 30, 2006
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    Re: Rorting allegations

    I'm sure they do. But that's also why I said it shouldn't be the case for any profession.

    Why uninformed people think this is only a pilot's prerogative or typical of pilot profession is beyond me.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  9. under the radar

    under the radar Established Member

    Apr 8, 2010
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    Re: Rorting allegations

    well...I guess.... its an airline forum...and its QF related!!! :oops: ...more to the point... WHO blabbed to the media??:confused: ...... when I was an employee of a large retail establishment 30yrs ago and I 'took advantage' of them and got 'caught out'!! :eek:... there was no press coverage at all!!!!! :D
     
  10. Melburnian1

    Melburnian1 Enthusiast

    Jun 7, 2013
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    Re: Rorting allegations

    A330 driver, great explanation and typical of the excellent no nonsense answers for which you have already become known. Many thanks.

    The article does however refer to '200 kilometres out of Sydney' as the defining "I am entitled, but you are not' Goyder line. Yet you say the training is in Melbourne. Is the media article (albeit in Australia's most erudite newspaper, one that rarely exaggerates) incorrect?

    If the situation is as you say it is, it may well be that these employees have 'abused' the allowance as if they are at home, there's a strong argument that they shouldn't claim an away from home allowance. QF also throws in free (business class) travel from the MEL training site to SYD or elsewhere one would presume.

    However I haven't (and cannot) jump to conclusions because only QF management and perhaps its staff are in full possession of the facts. One wonders (as did AFFer under the radar) who got this into the media: management? Is this alleged bad behaviour or fraud being used as an industrial relations management tool?
     
  11. VHOEJ

    VHOEJ Active Member

    Oct 30, 2010
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    Re: Rorting allegations

    The sad thing is this probably isn't isolated - forget this specific case, there are likely to be many other instances but this one will stand out more given the amount. You just hope that any offenders all cop the same treatment and certain staff aren't looked after.

    There are also plenty of employees who are 'entitled' to something or a payment in airlines but refuse to take it.
     
  12. JohnK

    JohnK Veteran Member

    Mar 22, 2005
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    Assuming this is true then this is not a good image for those pilots involved.

    It does not help that Qantas is struggling either.

    To some people $1,500/week is a lot of money. I can see how you would try to claim that amount if you lived in the city where the training was conducted but those from other cities got the allowance.
     
  13. amaroo

    amaroo Senior Member

    Sep 22, 2011
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    Nothing to see here....people will always disappoint. Doesn't matter what they wear, what they're paid or what their job is...
     
  14. OzEire

    OzEire Established Member

    Aug 4, 2013
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    Re: Rorting allegations

    Not so "under the radar" then ?

    Ok, fairly stealthy :)
     
  15. A330 driver

    A330 driver Junior Member

    Oct 7, 2011
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    Re: Rorting allegations

    Thanks for the feedback, it's nice to know that what I have to say is appreciated and seen as useful.

    I have read a couple of articles which I wasn't able to access previously, and I must say I'm a bit unsure as to what exactly might have happened. I'm not sure whether these pilots were doing 737 training in Sydney (as far as I'm aware they only do 1 and 2 day Emergency Procedure training courses in Sydney for the 737 as there is no Qantas 737 sim in Sydney). My best guess is what I've written previously on this thread, but that's only because I can't think of what else might have actually happened.

    A couple of points to consider. It is a requirement of our EBA/Award/Contract that we supply our contact info, and this includes your residential address. Whether you live outside of your base (ex: live in Brisbane but are based in Sydney), you must always supply your actual residential address, so in this example it would be Brisbane despite being based in Sydney. With this in mind, if Qantas paid an allowance when it wasn't entitled they did so with full knowledge that the pilot(s) in question weren't eligible as they know exactly whether you're inside or outside the 200km radius. The figure of circa $18,000 that keeps being floated around would be inclusive of everything, and I would be very surprised if the amount of allegedly unauthorised allowances came anywhere near that amount. With regards to my example in the previous post re: flying home to see your family, that is a cost borne by the individual and isn't covered by Qantas. The only time Qantas covers flights is if they are sending you somewhere to or from flying and/or training. Flying home to see your family isn't their concern, nor should it be I believe.

    I had written a bit about the flight attendant comments but I have chosen to delete it. I fear it will be taken in a context in which it wasn't intended. Needless to say any "scam" or "fraud" stories that I've heard about by ANYONE have always come back to bite them, and the general qantas employee group think they're fools for doing it in the first place. In my experience I have always found my immediate management to be very fair, and I have never heard of anybody being fired for "minor infractions", there is always more to the story.
    The final thing I will say is that this is just my opinion on the matter. I don't have any more knowledge on the topic than anyone else here, when I do I will share it. I am very curious as to who released this information given that this is an internal matter at this stage. I won't make excuses for this behaviour should it be true as it doesn't deserve a defence, but I have chosen to comment on this topic because it is so far out of character for one of my colleagues to act in this manner.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  16. anat0l

    anat0l Enthusiast

    Dec 30, 2006
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    Re: Rorting allegations

    Thanks A330 driver; your information and "two cents" is very much appreciated.

    I guess one should keep in mind that the "news" broke from... a news article. Where those info boffins got their story I have no idea, unless someone leaked. So we're getting our first-hand information from a source which has a dubious reputation, which itself is likely deriving it from a dubious source and/or using dubious methods.

    I know you're likely aware, but although we appreciate your audience, we don't want you to get into any trouble with your employers, e.g. for bringing into disrepute or violating communication protocols.
     
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