June 25, 2020


The Transport Workers’ Union has slammed Qantas’ cuts to 6000 jobs, saying the airline should hold off until a Federal Government review extending Jobkeeper.

TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said both Qantas and the Federal Government are responsible for the job losses.

“Before Qantas slashed thousands of workers’ jobs and takes more of its planes down to the pawn shop it should be lobbying the Federal Government for an extension to Jobkeeper and financial support to allow the airline to weather the crisis. The Qantas CEO is very good at walking the halls of Canberra when it suits his agenda yet he is quick to cut jobs and hang workers out to dry. We are demanding that he halt these redundancies until the Federal Government makes an announcement on Jobkeeper,” Kaine said.

“We have been calling on the Government for months to step in with a national plan for aviation and they have refused. It is because of Government restrictions that aviation was grounded to a halt, yet the assistance and assurances have been paltry. Qantas is now making hasty decisions to slash jobs which will affect thousands of families while Virgin is still limping along. Today the IMF is warning Australia’s plans for a good recovery must be accompanied by a careful withdrawal of support. Because the Government is refusing to provide any certainty past September we are seeing the aviation industry go into free-fall,” Kaine added.

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.

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.

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.

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