TWU welcomes ACCC monitoring of aviation but demands urgent Government action to save jobs

The TWU has welcomed the Federal Government’s move tasking the ACCC to monitor prices, costs and profits in the domestic aviation market but urges more immediate action to save jobs in the industry.

TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said monitoring competition was welcome but the aviation industry was in danger.

“We welcome the move to monitor competition in the domestic market particularly at this uncertain time for aviation and with Qantas jumping in with $19 fares to try and knock Virgin out of the market. The focus must be on ensuring that air travel is affordable, reliable and serves regional Australia. We hope the Federal Government intends to act on any problematic activity that the ACCC flags which could have massive implications for other industries across Australia that depend on air travel,” he said.

“While the focus on competition is welcome there are other areas of aviation which need urgent attention. Jobkeeper will end in a matter of months and aviation companies and workers need certainty that support will continue while the international market remains closed and the domestic market limps along. As we approach a critical point in the Virgin voluntary administration process, bidders also need certainty about Government assistance. The Government needs to adopt a national plan for the sector or job losses and company closure will be inevitable,” Kaine added.

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.

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.

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