Qantas workers to protest Job cuts today – TWU calls for public equity stake

Hundreds of Qantas workers, their families & supporters will protest against the proposed axing and outsourcing of their jobs at Sydney and Adelaide airports today.

The Transport Workers’ Union will call during the protests for the Federal Government to take an equity stake in return for the more than half a billion dollars in public financial assistance which has already been paid to Qantas.

Speakers at the Sydney protest will include Qantas workers, TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine, Unions NSW Secretary Mark Morey and NSW ALP deputy leader Yasmin Cately. Social distancing will be observed at today’s airport protests.

Qantas wants to cut and outsource all 2,500 ground, baggage and cleaning workers so it can put their jobs out for tender to reduce rates and conditions. Qantas announced 6,000 redundancies just weeks ago.

Kaine said the Federal Government must take an equity stake in Qantas given the airline has violated the intent of the JobKeeper scheme and let the Australian public down.

“Taxpayers have been ripped off and Qantas workers have been left high and dry. The Prime Minister said the point of Jobkeeper was to keep the connection between employers and workers. Yet Qantas has received hundreds of millions of dollars in wage subsidies and now wants to outsource jobs that it admits still exists. This is a gross violation of the intent of Jobkeeper and we are urging the Federal Government to take an equity stake in the airline to protect taxpayers’ interests,” Kaine said.

“The money Qantas says it will save through outsourcing these jobs is around four times what they paid their CEO Alan Joyce last year. So 2,500 workers are being sacrificed at the height of a pandemic by a company which has made an art form out of greed. Mr Joyce must resign and Qantas must become the responsible employer that the Australian community wants it to be,” he added.

Qantas has revealed it received $267 million through the JobKeeper Payment and $248 million through government financial assistance packages.

The Transport Workers’ Union took Qantas to court yesterday over its abuse of the Jobkeeper Payment scheme, arguing the airline is ripping its workers off by thousands of dollars by refusing to pay them what they have earned. The TWU is fighting a separate case against Qantas over its refusal to pay sick workers their leave entitlements.

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