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QANTAS LOSSES SHOW NEED FOR AVIATION KEEPER WITH STRICT CONDITIONS

February 23, 2021

Qantas losses of over $1 billion in just six months show that the Federal Government must introduce Aviation Keeper, an extension to Jobkeeper for all stood down aviation workers with strict conditions for the companies receiving it.

TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said ongoing public support should be extended to keep the aviation industry alive but companies like Qantas must be compelled to stop outsourcing and, for the foreseeable future, cap executive salaries and ban bonuses.

“Workers at Qantas, Virgin and other aviation companies are just four weeks away from the end of a lifeline which has kept their jobs going and their families afloat. These workers need to know that their jobs will still be there at the end of March and that the skills and experience they have built up over many years will not be lost in our industry.

“We urge the Federal Government to introduce Aviation Keeper, which should include all aviation workers whose jobs continue to be affected by the crisis. There can be no carving out of international aviation or denying Jobkeeper to workers like those at ground operator Dnata because of the company’s structure.

“Aviation Keeper must come with strict conditions. Qantas is known for paying top executives exorbitant pay packets, with Alan Joyce the highest paid CEO in Australia just a few years ago. The airline has pocketed over a billion dollars in Jobkeeper and other financial supports and has behaved abominably to its workers: outsourcing its 2,500 ground workers, refusing to pay sick workers the leave they have built up and misusing Jobkeeper. The Government must ensure a fair return to the taxpayer and hold Qantas to account,” he said.

Qantas is outsourcing all of its baggage handlers, ramp workers and cabin cleaners and is replacing them with workers on lower wages and conditions. The TWU has taken a Federal Court case to stop the outsourcing.

The TWU and other unions are taking Qantas to the High Court over both Qantas’s refusal to pay sick leave and Jobkeeper misuse.

Qantas revealed in its latest annual report it is paying its senior executives millions of dollars. When Qantas announced its CEO received $24 million pay package he was the highest paid CEO in Australia and the highest paid airline executive in the world.