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Jetstar flight attendant demanded he be paid for isolating in Singapore after claiming food was bad

A Jetstar flight attendant who argued he should have been paid a daily meal allowance for the time he spent in hotel quarantine with Covid because his food was ‘inedible’ was caught out after texting a colleague that his dinner was ‘very nice’.

Owen Shaun Matthews was working as a flight attendant when he flew from Melbourne to Singapore on December 29, 2021, at the height of the Covid pandemic.

Once in Singapore, Mr Matthews and the other cabin crew were taken to the  Crowne Plaza Changi Hotel to complete their overnight rest period before flying back to Australia.

As part of Covid mitigation measures in Singapore, Jetstar staff were ordered to take rapid antigen tests on December 29 and December 31, with Mr Matthews testing positive on a RAT on December 31 and a PCR on January 1.

He was then taken to a government-operated Community Isolation Facility at the Pasia Novena Hotel where he stayed from January 2 to January 9 – while his colleagues remained at the Crowne Plaza.

Mr Matthews was given three meals a day while in quarantine but said because the food and his accommodation was substandard he should’ve been entitled to the daily allowance his colleagues were paid for the short period of time they were isolating in Singapore.

Jetstar flight attendant Owen Shaun Matthews argued he should have been paid a daily allowance for the time he spent in hotel quarantine with Covid because his food was ‘inedible’ was caught out after texting a colleague his dinner was actually ‘very nice’

The flight attendant took the matter to the Fair Work Commission but Deputy President Val Gostencnik dismissed his application on February 7.

Mr Gostencnik found Mr Matthews had been ordered to quarantine by the Ministry of Health Singapore, not Jetstar, and was therefore not entitled to the daily allowance.

His colleagues had to arrange their own food while at the Crowne Plaza, which is why Jetstar gave them an allowance, instead of reimbursing each worker for each meal – as opposed to Mr Matthews whose food was prepared for him.

Mr Matthews claimed most of his meals were cold and ‘for the most part inedible’.

‘He says that for the ”first five days it was Asian Food which was predominantly rice which [he] cannot eat” and that he ”was finally granted western food however as [he] was not allowed to have a knife of any description, that also became rather futile”,’ Mr Gostencnik’s findings said.

Mr Matthews said he was as 'OK as can be' in a text to his colleague while isolating with Covid in a Singapore hotel in January last year. He later claimed his accomodation was substandard

Mr Matthews said he was as ‘OK as can be’ in a text to his colleague while isolating with Covid in a Singapore hotel in January last year. He later claimed his accomodation was substandard

Mr Matthews is seen texting another colleague saying his room was clean

Mr Matthews is seen texting another colleague saying his room was clean

Mr Matthews also claimed his door couldn’t lock and medical staff entered his room without knocking at any hour of the day.

He claimed his towels and sheets weren’t changed and there was no hot water, forcing him to boil the kettle to wash his underwear.

‘He also says there were no “bath amenities” of any kind supplied nor were any snacks supplied on request,’ the Fair Work report said.

But text messages from Mr Matthews to a colleague describe a very different experience.

In one text he sent a photo of his dinner to another Jetstar staff member and said it was ‘very nice’.

‘The room is OK. It’s comfortable and it’s clean,’ he said in another message.

In a separate conversation when asked if there was anything he needed, Mr Matthews responded that he had ‘plenty of food’ and could order to his room.

In this text Mr Matthews is seen telling his colleague the dinner was 'very nice'. He later complained the food was 'inedible' and demanded he be paid an allowance for the time he spent isolating

In this text Mr Matthews is seen telling his colleague the dinner was ‘very nice’. He later complained the food was ‘inedible’ and demanded he be paid an allowance for the time he spent isolating

‘I can wash underwear and socks in the room and am OK as can be,’ he replied.

Mr Gostencnik’s report found that some of his complaints to the commission ‘do not sit comfortably’ with the messages he was sending his colleagues. 

‘Just as an example, Mr Matthews’ complaint about the lack of any “bath amenities” of any kind appears at odds with that which is visible in the photograph of the bathroom above, with “amenities” clearly visible on the basin and in the shower,’ the report said.

Mr Gostencnik, however, accepted that Mr Matthews may have been ‘satisified’ with his meals and accommodation on the first day but not overall during the week-long stay.

The commission found it was reasonable for Jetstar to pay the other Jetstar staff an allowance, rather than reimbursing each employee for each meal they had while isolating.

Despite Mr Matthews arguing he too be given the allowance, given his complaints about the food and accommodation his application was dismissed.

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk



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