Ex-Ansett Pilots Sue For Training Wages

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While Ansett Airlines is no more, the labor issues it once dealt with are still very much a present-day issue. Thirty-six pilots of the defunct Australian carrier are suing the company's administrators for more than $716,000, claiming they should have been paid wages for training in January 2002 as preparation for the aborted takeover by Tesna, a company that agreed to pay almost $300 million for Ansett's business but withdrew just days before scheduled completion. The angry ex-Ansett aviators are demanding they be paid for the time they spent training to fly Airbus A320 aircraft. The group claims that, in December 2001, the administrators and the pilots made a facilitative agreement ensuring that between Dec. 22 and Feb. 28, 2002, the pilots could participate in training to ensure they were qualified to fly the Airbus fleet proposed by Tesna. The pilots also claim the airline staff acting for the administrators, including pilot managers, directed or asked them to train on ground-based flight simulators, computers and in the air to qualify for Airbus certificates. They argue that, by undergoing training, they "rendered services" and therefore are entitled to compensation. Company administrators deny the charge, claiming the pilots were always told the training would not be attributed to further employment with the new Tesna-backed airline.