July 1, 2020


Qantas workers will ask the airline today why it is cutting 6000 jobs despite getting millions in wage subsidies from taxpayers, in a first major meeting since the redundancies announcement last week.

Baggage handlers, ramp workers, cabin crew, refuellers, security officials, cabin cleaners and caterers will meet Qantas management and demand why the airline refused to wait until a Federal Government review on Jobkeeper.

TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said workers were concerned that Qantas was using the pandemic crisis as an excuse to reduce staff numbers.

“The lives of these workers have been thrown into chaos in recent months and now they are worried they will lose their jobs. It beggars belief that an airline whose wages bill is being propped up by Australian taxpayers is slashing jobs ahead of a review on Jobkeeper. We will be demanding answers from Qantas as to why they are intent on moving ahead before a Government announcement,” he said.

“We are working with aviation employers and unions to impress upon Government the serious ramifications of not extending this type of assistance beyond September for all aviation workers. We want Qantas to back AviationKeeper, an extension of Jobkeeper beyond September for all aviation workers, not do a unilateral solo run on destroying lives by cutting jobs,” he added.

“The Federal Government has still refused to give the aviation industry the certainty it needs and pledge support. This is disappointing for the thousands of workers at Qantas, Virgin and in the aviation companies which service them as their jobs are in serious danger,” Kaine said.

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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