19 March 2020
The federal government today announced a $715 million relief package to Qantas, Virgin and Regional Airlines to deal with the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Katie Hepworth, Director of Workers Rights, ACCR, said:
“The government must ensure that support given to the industry is used to protect jobs and provide support to workers, who are facing redundancies and requests to take extended, unpaid leave.
“Since 2016, Qantas has returned more than $3 billion to its shareholders through buybacks and dividends. Governments must ensure that any stimulus provided to the airline industry is not diverted to shareholders, but instead is used to protect jobs and provide support for workers facing significant financial hardship.
“ACCR is concerned by reports that the government had not met with sector worker representatives prior to the announcement of this package. We call on Qantas and Virgin to ensure that workers – via their unions – are involved in the roll-out of this and future stimulus packages.
“In recent days, both airlines have called on staff to take unpaid leave and have indicated the potential for widespread layoffs in the industry. Any stimulus to the industry must look to alleviate this hardship.”
Katie Hepworth, Director of Workers’ Rights, 0416 825 280