July 21, 2020


Federal Government has refused to recognise the particular difficulties the aviation industry faces with its Jobkeeper plan, by slashing payments and refusing to include those already shut out of the scheme, the Transport Workers’ Union has said.

The Government is from September cutting back payments to workers and refusing to expand the scheme to allow workers whose companies are owned by foreign governments to access the payment. Payments will be further slashed back in January.

TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said aviation workers will struggle on reduced payments while thousands shut out of the scheme are at risk of losing their jobs.

“We welcome the Prime Minister’s announcement to extend JobKeeper and are glad that he has listened to workers on this. But this announcement confirms that the Federal Government is happy for aviation to collapse and with it thousands of jobs. The announcement to cut payments and that thousands of aviation workers will again miss out on Jobkeeper shows how Scott Morrison is failing to understand the serious situation aviation is in. Aviation workers need adequate support and a commitment from the Government that it will stand by their industry,” Kaine said.

“The biggest failing is that the Government simply doesn’t have a plan for aviation. It is willing to risk thousands of jobs and force families into poverty. It is standing by while Qantas and Virgin limp along, their futures entirely uncertain. It appears content that the companies providing catering, cleaning and ground handling services to the airlines will also start making workers redundant,” Kaine said.

“Aviation workers will struggle on the reduced payments, their bills still need to be paid and their families still need to be supported. For the thousands of workers who remain shut out of Jobkeeper because of their company’s ownership structure, such as those at Dnata, today is a big blow and means their jobs hang in the balance,” he said,

Qantas has announced 6000 redundancies while redundancies are also planned for Virgin. Workers at Dnata, who have been shut out of the Jobkeeper payment because of an exclusion on companies owned by foreign governments, are expecting jobs losses.

Virgin, six other aviation companies and unions representing tens of thousands of workers sent a joint appeal earlier this month to the Prime Minister to implement Aviation Keeper, an extension to Jobkeeper for all aviation workers beyond September.

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 workers 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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