June 17, 2020


The TWU is warning that thousands of jobs are under threat at airports across Australia if the Senate refuses to allow aviation workers access to Jobkeeper.

A motion will go before the Senate today backed by the Labor Party, Greens and several cross-bench Senators to give aviation workers Jobkeeper, after last minute legal changes by the Federal Government shut them out of the payment. Workers are urging the two One Nation Senators who have yet to indicate their support to back the motion.

The thousands of jobs at risk include caterers, cleaners, drivers, baggage handlers, ramp workers, check-in staff and security workers with aviation companies such as Dnata, which services major airlines. The Australian workers have had no income for over two months because of changes precluding them from accessing Jobkeeper since their companies are owned by foreign governments .

TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine urged the Senate to stand up for aviation jobs.

“This vote couldn’t be simpler: Senators are either going to stand up for hard-working aviation cleaners, caterers, ramp worker and security officers or they are not. The consequences of the vote today will be far-reaching for thousands of jobs at airports across Australia which may not survive without financial assistance. We urge the Senate to step in to protect these jobs,” he said.

“The families of these airport workers have had no income for months and are living off annual leave, savings and the goodwill of their family and friends. They have paid taxes all their lives and every penny of Jobkeeper will go to them, not their companies. The Federal Government is risking these vital airport jobs and the future of aviation in Australia which depends on them,” 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.

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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