Aviation

Aviation workers hold rallies across Australia to demand JobKeeper access

Aviation workers have held rallies in all major capitals at airports and federal government ministers’ offices to demand access to the JobKeeper payment.

The rallies also called for support for Virgin workers and for the government to implement a national plan for the aviation industry.

According to a new survey conducted by the Transport Workers’ Union (TWU), 70 per cent of aviation workers have been stood down during the COVID-19 crisis, and 40 per cent are not receiving JobKeeper.

The survey also found that 30 per cent of aviation workers have had to access their superannuation to get by, and almost half said they were worried they won’t be able to support their families throughout the crisis.

Almost a quarter said they are worried they will lose their house.

“This survey should serve as a call to action for the federal government as the evidence shows the extent to which aviation workers are suffering,” TWU national secretary Michael Kaine said.

“Workers have been stood down for several months, many have been shut out of JobKeeper payment and have no income at all. They and their families are struggling as they have been living off annual leave and savings which are now gone.

“Virgin is in voluntary administration and Qantas is quickly running out of cash. Workers are worried about their income and their future, yet the federal government continues to provide nothing more than a wall of silence on plans for their industry.”

TWU members have endorsed a national plan they want the government to implement which would see it take a greater role in regulating the industry.

The plan includes 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 motion is due before the Senate on Wednesday 10 June with the aim of reversing the federal government action that has shut thousands of aviation workers, including Dnata workers, out of the JobKeeper payment.

“Governments around the world are stepping in and supporting their aviation sectors. Air travel is of particular importance in Australia, yet the government is utterly directionless, with no plan and no policy,” Kaine said.

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