The Transport Workers Union has made a final appeal to the government to intervene to help save Virgin Australia after the business collapsed into administration.
TWU national secretary Michael Kaine said, “There is still time to rescue Virgin and for the federal government to take a bold move to ensure that the Australian economy is ready to bounce back when the crisis abates.”
The union also said that it had been reassured workers will keep their leave entitlements and will continue to receive JobKeeper payments.
In a statement released shortly after news broke of the administration, Kaine said, “We urge the federal government to sit down with the trade unions representing the 16,000 Virgin workers to work out a plan to go before administrators.
“The future of these workers and the options available to the travelling public are the biggest issues facing the government now that Virgin has entered voluntary administration.
“Unions stand ready to work with the government on helping to devise a solution on Virgin’s future to ensure good jobs, a decent reliable service for the public and a return for taxpayers.
“There is still time to rescue Virgin and for the federalgovernment to take a bold move to ensure that the Australian economy is ready to bounce back when the crisis abates.
“Governments around the world are taking the difficult decisions to protect their economy and jobs and we urge the Australian government to follow suit.”
The union added that it believed the government faces a potential redundancies bill of $800 million if it allows Virgin to collapse.
Earlier, the Labor Party, which had called for the government to buy an equity state in Virgin, slammed Prime Minister Scott Morrison for not doing more to help.
Leader Anthony Albanese said, “What we’re talking about here is the Australian national interest. If 16,000 people directly lose their jobs, that is 16,000 people who are on the Centrelink queue.
“It’s about time that Scott Morrison put aside the ideological blinkers and gave the support that is required.”
Earlier, Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson made a similar remark in a video released to staff, arguing that most other national governments had helped airlines.