May 15, 2020


Airport workers and political supporters will today demand answers from the Federal Government on its continued refusal to allow access to Jobkeeper Payment for thousands of airport workers.

Tony Burke MP, Jason Clare MP, Matt Thistlethwaite MP, Senator Tony Sheldon, Marjorie O’Neill MP and TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine will respond to the Federal Government’s decision to block a reversal of the loophole in Parliament this week shutting airport workers out of the payment.

Workers at companies like Dnata, which has over 5,500 workers in Australia, are angry at the Federal Government over a last minute change to the law which shut them out of the Jobkeeper Payment.

TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said the Federal Government was “directionless” on aviation.

“Dnata workers are enduring yet another bleak week of no pay and uncertainty about their incomes and their future. Many are struggling to pay bills, pay for medical supplies for family and support elderly parents and kids. They are Australian workers who pay their taxes and the Federal Government is blocking them at every turn from the safety net being provided to other workers,” said Kaine.

“The Federal Government is utterly directionless on aviation, the industry that literally fuels other industries like tourism, travel and trade in Australia. It is willing to let this vital industry die and see workers on the dole queues rather than commit to a plan. Dnata workers’ jobs are under threat, Virgin has yet to get any signal of Federal Government support and Qantas is running to the markets every few weeks mortgaging its planes for extra cash. Through no fault of their own, the planes stopped and jobs dried up for workers at the airport. Aviation workers feel very let down by the Government,” Kaine added.

TWU NSW Branch Secretary Richard Olsen said workers at Sydney Airport were struggling to survive without JobKeeper.

“Workers at SNP and Dnata are telling us that they feel abandoned by their own Government due to the extraordinary rule that says even though they are Australian workers, they are ineligible to receive help like so many other workers in Australia can.

When this pandemic is over, we know that Dnata and SNP workers want to be able to remain connected with their employers and take up their jobs again, continuing to support their families and the aviation Industry.”

Dnata informed its workers last week it was ineligible for Jobkeeper because of last minute changes to the rules which preclude foreign government owned companies from accessing the payment. SNP airport security guards have also been told they are also ineligible for the payment.

The Senate came close to voting up a motion on Wednesday which would have allowed Dnata workers to get JobKeeper with the Federal Government publicly stating it would oppose it.

The TWU is calling on the Federal Government to implement a national plan for aviation which would ensure the survival of two strong airlines in Australia, equity stake in return of ongoing funding, good jobs and a reliable and affordable service for the travelling public.

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