Seventy TWU members took part in a rally today at Perth Airport to protest against ‘loopholes’ in the JobKeeper package that have excluded thousands of employees.
Earlier this week, Australian Aviation reported that dnata staff were told they were no longer eligible because their company is owned by a foreign government, while airport workers are similarly locked out because their firms are council-owned.
The JobKeeper package was introduced to provide coronavirus-effected business with $1,500 per employee, per fortnight. The companies are then legally obliged to pass that payment onto workers in a bid to keep the economy active during the pandemic.
The TWU’s WA branch secretary, Tim Dawson, said, “Aviation workers are left behind. These are Australian workers and they should be getting the JobKeeper payment. It is a disgrace that they have been shut out of this vital payment and discriminated against in this way.
“We have some workers who have been doing this work for several decades. They have mortgages, rent, bills and kids to feed. It is devastating that for five weeks they have assumed they would be getting the JobKeeper payment and only now the government informs their company that they won’t get it.”
In particular, dnata claimed the Tax Office originally said it could apply for the aid, but then reversed its decision.
The catering and ground handling business is owned by the Emirates Group, which in turn is run by the state government of Dubai.
Emirates later hit back by announcing it would review its contribution to Australian airport operations after being frozen out.
Meanwhile, the chairman of Victoria’s busiest regional airport, Mildura, similarly complained that his business was “falling through the cracks” because it’s ineligible for government financial help due to being council-owned.
Talking to the ABC, Mildura’s Peter O’Donnell said, “Nearly every bit of support we’re looking at is unavailable to us despite the fact we’re running 95 per cent down on revenue and we’ve laid off 60 per cent of our staff.”