The Labor MP whose constituency covers Sydney Airport has slammed the government’s JobKeeper package for ignoring workers at a press conference at Terminal 2.
Kingsford Smith’s Matt Thistlethwaite said it was unfair that dnata staff were excluded: “These people live in Australia, work in Australia, pay taxes in Australia and contribute to the Australian economy. These deserve the support of the Australian government.”
Last week, Australian Aviation reported that dnata staff were told they were no longer eligible because their company is owned by a foreign government, while many 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.
On Friday, the TWU organised a press conference on the floor of Sydney Airport, with MPs Tony Burke, Jason Clare, Marjorie O’Neill and senator Tony Sheldon in attendance.
Thistlethwaite said, “JobKeeper focuses on management on company. It doesn’t focus on the workers. Workers are missing out because they fall through the cracks.”
Earlier, TWU national secretary Michael Kaine said, “Dnata workers are enduring yet another bleak week of no pay and uncertainty about their incomes and their future. Many are struggling to pay bills, pay for medical supplies for family and support elderly parents and kids.
“The federal government is utterly directionless on aviation, the industry that literally fuels other industries like tourism, travel and trade in Australia. It is willing to let this vital industry die and see workers on the dole queues rather than commit to a plan. Dnata workers’ jobs are under threat, Virgin has yet to get any signal of federal government support and Qantas is running to the markets every few weeks mortgaging its planes for extra cash.
“Through no fault of their own, the planes stopped and jobs dried up for workers at the airport. Aviation workers feel very let down by the government.”