The Transport Workers’ Union is calling on the Federal Government to immediately pay airport workers shut out of Jobkeeper Payment following the admission that the wage subsidy will cost $70 billion, not $130 billion as originally expected.
TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said the error should pave the way for the Federal Government to pay thousands of airport workers shut out of the scheme.
“There is now simply no excuse for the Government not to pay airport workers the Jobkeeper Payment. Thousands of airport workers for almost two months have had no pay, their leave and savings have been exhausted and they are terrified about their families’ future. They desperately need certainty about their incomes and futures which the Government can provide with the stroke of a pen,” he said.
Workers at companies like Dnata, which employs over 5,500 workers in Australia, have been shut out of the JobKeeper Payment because of a last-minute change to the law which precluded companies owned by foreign governments. The UK and Canadian governments are paying Dnata workers the wage subsidies in their counties.
“Airport workers who clean the planes, prepare in-flight meals, get baggage onto and off aircraft and help get planes into the air pay their taxes in Australia like other workers across Australia. They deserve to be supported during this crisis, which saw the Federal Government introduce restrictions which have almost shut down the aviation sector. These workers will hear about this reporting error of $60 billion and wonder why they cannot be paid Jobkeeper Payment like everyone else,” he added.
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.