Jetstar denies its flights into Burma are assisting the military junta and its human rights abuses.
ACTU President Sharan Burrow says international companies are withdrawing services from Burma and those businesses that stay know they are abetting human and trade union rights abuses, including child labour and forced labour.
Burma Campaign Australia says the airline’s payments to fly into the country add to the estimated $US2.8 billion ($A3.23 billion) in “blood money” to the dictatorship.
Campaign spokeswoman Zetty Brake says Jetstar’s payments to fly into the country could be used to fund more than 700 soldiers a year, Fairfax newspapers report.
“Sadly doing business in Burma only helps keep the Burmese junta in power, providing it with the critical funds and resources it needs to maintain its brutal rule,” she said in a statement.
Airline fees ‘lining regime’s pockets’
Jetstar chief executive Bruce Buchanan denies the accusation, saying Jetstar is happy to end the schedule if it thinks it’s harming the Burmese people in any way.
“Whenever we look at it and talk to the (aid) agencies that are in there, they say it’s a good thing. We are giving people access to get out and get education, aid agencies to get in there, and people reconnecting with friends and family,” he said.
Mr Buchanan told Fairfax he received a letter from the ACTU last week and has yet to reply, saying he’s disappointed the matter is now in the public domain.
Ms Burrow told Fairfax it’s a “myth” that ordinary Burmese can fly into and out of the country, and rejected the airline’s suggestion its fees to Burmese aviation authorities do not end up in the regime’s pockets.
She’ll join Burmese democracy activists in Sydney today for the beginning of a campaign to pressure Australian companies into withdrawing from Burma.