Aircraft cleaners, caterers, security guards, baggage handlers and ramp workers from Sydney airport will travel to Canberra early tomorrow to demand Jobkeeper Payment as the Federal Parliament sits.
The workers will represent thousands of aviation workers across Australia from companies such as Dnata who have been shut out of Jobkeeper because of a last minute change to the scheme by the Federal government.
A motion will go before the Senate to reverse the change and workers are hopeful it will pass, with the support of the Labor Party, Green Party and several cross-bench Senators. The TWU has written to the Prime Minister, the Treasurer, the Transport Minister and all the cross-bench Senators asking them to meet the workers on the front lawn of Parliament House.
TWU NSW Branch Secretary Richard Olsen said workers were making the trip so the Federal Government and Federal politicians could hear first hand the effect of being shut out of Jobkeeper.
“Aviation workers are suffering, they have used up their leave and savings and they are at rock bottom. Many have had no income for over two months and this is causing stress and anxiety for their families. All they are asking for is to be treated like all other workers in Australia who work hard and pay their taxes,” he said.
Workers found out just last month that they were shut out of Jobkeeper, because of changes which preclude Australian workers in companies owned by foreign governments from accessing the payment.
The TWU has called for ‘aviation keeper’ for all aviation workers to be extended beyond September to give workers and companies assurances while planes effectively remained grounded.
“As an island nation, aviation is the lifeblood of our economy. But it won’t be able to provide the kickstart the economy needs unless thousands of workers are ready to return to work when restrictions are lifted. We are calling on the Government to implement an ‘aviation keeper’ payment to ensure workers can remain with their companies while the crisis continues,” Mr Olsen added.
A survey shows 70% of aviation workers have been stood down from their jobs with almost 40% stating they have no income. Over 1,000 cabin crew, airline caterers, cleaners, baggage handlers, ramp workers, security officials, refuellers and drivers responded to the survey with almost 30% stating they have had to access their superannuation to get by. Almost half of respondents are worried they won’t be able to support their families throughout the crisis while 20% say they are worried they will lose their house.
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.