June 10, 2020


Airport workers will today urge the Senate to pass a motion reversing last minute changes to Jobkeeper which shut them out of the vital payment.

The workers are among thousands of aviation workers from companies such as Dnata who have been struggling without pay for several months since aircraft have been effectively grounded and airports effectively shut up because of pandemic restrictions.

The motion has the support of the Labor Party, Green Party and several cross-bench Senators. The TWU has written to the Prime Minister, the Treasurer, the Transport Minister and the cross-bench Senators asking them to meet the workers while they are in Canberra.

TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said workers were desperate for the Senate to help them.

“Aviation workers know that this is what the Senate does: it steps in when Government action is flawed and corrects it. Workers want Senators and the Federal Government to hear how they have struggled since being stood down without pay. They want them to understand how it has affected their families, how they are struggling to pay bills and how they feel so let down and shut out through no fault of their own but because of the way their company is structured. All they are asking for is to be treated like all other workers in Australia who work hard and pay their taxes,” he said.

The TWU has called for ‘aviation keeper’ for all aviation workers to be extended beyond September to give workers and companies assurances while planes effectively remained grounded.

“The jobs of thousands of aviation workers right across Australia are under threat because companies have no certainty about when or how aviation will open up. Qantas is limping along with funding from the Federal Government while Virgin’s future is entirely up in the air. Meanwhile jobs at the likes of Dnata are in serious doubt. We are calling on the Government to implement an ‘aviation keeper’ payment to ensure workers can remain with their companies while the crisis continues,” Kaine added.

A survey shows 70% of aviation workers have been stood down from their jobs with almost 40% stating they have no income. Over 1,000 cabin crew, airline caterers, cleaners, baggage handlers, ramp workers, security officials, refuellers and drivers responded to the survey with almost 30% stating they have had to access their superannuation to get by. Almost half of respondents are worried they won’t be able to support their families throughout the crisis while 20% say they are worried they will lose their house.

Aviation workers have endorsed a national plan they want the Government to implement which would see it take a greater role in regulating the industry, including: equity stakes for struggling businesses; ensuring workers are paid the same rate for the same work; making safety a number one priority; ensuring all airport workers stood down have access to Jobkeeper; and capping CEO pay.

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