The TWU has tentatively lent its support to winning Virgin bidder Bain, in a significant sign it will also seal the support of employee creditors ahead of August’s crunch final vote.
National secretary Michael Kaine said, “Bain put forward a solid bid to secure the administrator’s recommendation and we are happy to work with them on the plan for getting the airline back on its feet.”
The TWU had influence in the deal as the airline’s employees together account for 9,020 of the total number of creditors and are owed $451 million.
“Both Cyrus and Bain put in serious, strong proposals which indicates the extent to which Virgin is an excellent investment with a committed and experienced workforce. It also shows the vital place Virgin holds in the Australian aviation landscape,” Kaine said.
“But when we sit down with Bain and the administrators to plan the next steps we know that there are still many uncertainties which will make decision-making very difficult. There is virtually no international travel and domestic air travel is severely curtailed and likely to be so for the foreseeable future. In this context planning for an airline’s future is near impossible.”
Kaine also called for the government to extend the JobKeeper scheme for the aviation industry beyond its September expiring date.
Yesterday, Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said he’s been in talks with Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on trying to extend the initiative for the industry with many international borders still remaining shut.
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.
However, the JobKeeper payments are substantially higher than the default ‘JobSeeker’ payments given to those completely out of work or stood down.
“The federal government must stabilise the aviation industry with Aviation Keeper, an extension of support beyond September for all aviation workers. Both Virgin and Qantas need financial assistance, support and direction from the government on weathering the difficult months ahead as air travel limps along,” said Kaine.
“But government assistance cannot just be an airline package as the companies which service the airlines are also effectively grounded and their workforces stood down. The government must act urgently on a plan for the aviation sector or risk many thousands of job losses.”