An inquiry has been launched into the future of the aviation sector in Australia, with the Senate calling for a halt to the outsourcing of 2,500 Qantas jobs.
The Senate’s transport committee will report on the survival of the industry and look at the adequacy of government support, the long-term future of aviation jobs, the effects on the tourism industry, and find ways to help the sector recover, according to The Canberra Times.
The committee, which will report by 31 March next year, was given the mammoth task on Monday afternoon after aviation workers converged on Canberra to urge politicians to back them.
Despite receiving more than $500 million in government support, Qantas announced in August that along with Jetstar it was reviewing whether to outsource its ground handling operations, which would affect 2,420 employees, on top of the 6,000 job cuts already announced.
The Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) national secretary, Michael Kaine said the Senate’s move has given aviation workers hope for their futures.
“Thousands of aviation workers have been stood down from their jobs for months and the federal government has no plan to ensure they can get back to their jobs,” he said.
“With these motions, we hope to see a strategy put into place reflecting the crisis aviation is in and what needs to be done to rescue it.
“The Senate has taken the unusual move of condemning a company over its treatment of its workers.
“We hope Qantas management will listen to the Senate and halt the outsourcing its 2,500 baggage handlers, ramp works and cleaners.
“Over a billion dollars in public money has been spent to keep the aviation industry afloat since the pandemic began. The federal government has failed to tie any conditions to that money and CEOs continue to pay themselves millions while workers are losing their jobs.
“The no-strings-attached corporate welfare for the aviation industry must end. Public money must be used to benefit the entire community and ensure a healthy industry.”
In late October, the TWU staged an ‘alternative’ Qantas AGM at Sydney Airport’s Qantas domestic terminal, after the airline announced it would not allow shareholders to ask questions this year.
The ‘alternative’ meeting was led by an ‘Allen Joyce’ character, which was essentially an unidentified man speaking with a thick Irish accent, and nine ‘board members’. You can watch it HERE.
In September, the union took legal action against Qantas over its plans to outsource jobs.
The filing centres on what TWU alleges is Qantas’ failure to consult with workers on its plan to axe their jobs, and over a tendering process which, the TWU again alleged, has been designed to make it impossible for the 2,420 ground operations workers across Qantas and Jetstar who face loss of employment from bidding for their jobs.
Featured image source: Twitter/TWUAus