Federal Government should follow German Lufthansa model for Virgin

The Federal Government should look at the German government’s rescue bid for Lufthansa as a model for ensuring the long-term survival of Virgin, the Transport Workers’ Union has said.

Germany is finalising a €9 billion rescue package for Lufthansa. In return, German taxpayers will take a 25% stake in the business and seats on the airline’s supervisory board.

TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said the model should provide a plan for the Federal Government to rescue Virgin.

“Governments around the world are stepping in and supporting their aviation sectors because they recognise the strategic importance of this critical infrastructure. Few countries are as dependent on aviation as Australia and yet the Federal Government is nowhere to be seen. Germany’s rescue of Lufthansa with a stake in the company will allow the airline to weather the storm of the current crisis and set it up for the future. Australia needs its Federal Government to do the same for Virgin,” Kaine said.

“Virgin workers are deeply concerned about the airline’s long-term future. They want the Government to take more than a passive observer role. The Virgin administration process needs a plan from the Federal Government to guide it and ensure the best outcome. There is too much at stake for Virgin workers, the travelling public and tens of thousands of jobs linked to tourism across Australia for the Government to remain silent,” he added.

Aviation workers have endorsed a national plan they want the Government to implement which would see it take a greater role in regulating the industry, including: 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.

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