A majority of people – 62% – want the Government to take a stake in private companies which require bailouts, with 50% stating that Qantas should be nationalised if the current situation gets worse and only 20% opposed.
The YouGov poll also shows the public is very supportive of the Federal Government’s relief to airlines last week, with 68% saying they agree with the $715 million assistance package.
Michael Kaine National Secretary of the TWU, which commissioned the poll, said the public was clearly in favour of helping out a critical industry like aviation. “People are supportive of measures to assist companies like Qantas when times are tough and they don’t believe that support should end there. Aviation is critical to a country like Australia and hundreds of thousands of workers, companies and other industries depend on it, both directly and indirectly. What isn’t in the country’s interest is having airlines on this erratic trajectory where every few years they are requiring public assistance. We need a new type of management,” he said.
The opinion poll also shows 80% of people believe executive bonuses and shareholder dividends should not be paid until Qantas workers are paid back the accrued and future leave the company is forcing them to take. Almost two-thirds said Qantas should ensure its workers do not have to take unpaid leave.
“The poll shows the public are acutely aware of the dynamics at play and that assistance for the airlines and other private companies should go hand-in-hand with fairness for those expected to bear the brunt of the hardships, namely workers. People know that this crisis will abate and that when it does those badly affected should be compensated,” Kaine added.
Qantas last week announced it was standing down two-thirds of its workforce, with many receiving notification about this now. The airline said workers would have to use accrued leave and future leave, and would also have to take unpaid leave.
In 2014, Qantas sought a bailout from the Federal Government when it posted losses of $2.84 billion. In February this year it posted half year profits of $771 million.