A conglomerate of eight unions has written a letter to the prime minister expressing their “utter dismay” at the government’s new financial package to replace JobKeeper.
“We question the thinking behind ripping away wage supports now,” it reads. “Stopping that support at the final hurdle makes no sense and amounts to a waste of the hundreds of millions of dollars spent to date.”
Late on Wednesday night, the Prime Minister revealed the new package of measures for the aviation industry that will include 800,000 half-price airfares to 13 tourism destinations including the Gold Coast, Whitsundays and Merimbula.
The help will also include cheap loans to small business coming off JobKeeper, wage subsidies for 8,600 international aviation employees and a six-month extension of the ‘RANS’ and ‘DANS’ supplemented routes initiative.
The letter has been signed by figures including the TWU national secretary Michael Kaine, ASU assistant national secretary Emeline Gaske and FAAA secretary Teri O’Toole. A full list is at the bottom of this article.
The letter reads, “We write to register our utter dismay at today’s announcement on support for the aviation industry.
“Cheap flights and grants to companies will not save businesses or jobs and will only increase distrust around continuing public financial support that comes without strict conditions attached.
“JobKeeper has been a vital lifeline in keeping thousands of aviation workers connected to their jobs. It has allowed companies to rotate a large cohort of workers, keeping them linked to their jobs. It has allowed workers to pay their bills and support their families.
“The outlook for aviation is optimistic but the industry is by no means out of the woods. Workers are being stood up in greater numbers than before but domestic travel remains a fraction of its former self while international travel is still in the doldrums.
“We question the thinking behind ripping away wage supports now. The Australian taxpayer has effectively paid the wages of thousands of aviation workers for almost a year. Stopping that support at the final hurdle makes no sense and amounts to a waste of the hundreds of millions of dollars spent to date.”
Announcing the measures on Wednesday, PM Scott Morrison said, “This package will take more tourists to our hotels and cafes, taking tours and exploring our backyard. That means more jobs and investment for the tourism and aviation sectors as Australia heads towards winning our fight against COVID-19 and the restrictions that have hurt so many businesses.”
JobKeeper payments are set to end nationwide at the end of March, and the government has previously remained tight-lipped as to exactly what support would follow.
The full list of signatories to the union letter are:
- TWU national secretary Michael Kaine;
- VIPA president John Lyons;
- ALAEA federal secretary Steve Purvinas;
- ETU national secretary Allen Hicks;
- ASU assistant National secretary Emeline Gaske;
- FAAA secretary Teri O’Toole;
- AMWU federal secretary Steve Murphy;
- AWU national secretary Daniel Walton.