The Transport Workers’ Union is fighting Qantas in court today over its abuse of the Jobkeeper Payment scheme, arguing the airline is ripping its workers off by thousands of dollars by refusing to pay them what they have earned.
The case comes a day after Qantas announced it was axing a further 2500 jobs among its ground crew, to outsource them so they can be paid less.
The court case centres on Qantas’s refusal to pay workers for public holiday, weekend, overtime work and allowances by standing people down for the rest of their pay period and manipulating the pay system so workers just get basic Jobkeeper Payment.
“Qantas has been ripping off its workers, refusing to pay them for their work when they spent time away from their families on public holidays and Sundays. They have deliberately manipulated Jobkeeper so they don’t have to pay workers a dollar more than the public subsidy. What they are doing is abusing the taxpayer scheme to line their own pockets. Alan Joyce and his team are now paying themselves millions again at the same time that they are denying their workers basic rights,” Kaine said.
“Qantas has taken more than half a billion public dollars in public money and is abusing the spirit and intent of the financial support. It is ripping off workers on Jobkeeper, refusing to pay very ill workers their sick pay and is having its workers’ wages subsidised only to now outsource them. This is a company out of control and is breaching the community trust that has been placed in employers to do the right thing,” Kaine added.
The TWU has called for the Qantas CEO to resign following the announcement to outsource jobs to pay workers less. The TWU has written to the Prime Minister asking him to intervene to pressure Qantas to stop the job cuts and, if it refuses, to demand the company pays the $515 million in public financial support back.
Hundreds of Qantas workers will hold protests at airports tomorrow over the jobs axing and outsourcing.
Qantas has revealed it received $267 million through the JobKeeper Payment and $248 million through government financial assistance packages.