Now is not the time for the government to sit on its hands. Assistance and support to the industry must focus on protecting the jobs of workers not simply propping up companies. We urgently call on the government to meet with us and act to save the airlines industry.

Dear Prime Minister,

We write to you urging you to immediately meet workers and their representatives as the Federal Government prepares plans to assist the aviation industry.

The Government must move quickly to support the airline industry with taxpayers’ money to prevent a collapse of one of more of the key employers. This should include a Government guarantee, however we urge the Government to seek assurances from companies over the protection of jobs as part of any assistance package.

The focus of assistance and support to the industry must be on protecting the jobs of workers not simply propping up companies. These companies will need the workforce capacity to accelerate out of the downturn when the crisis subsides, and shedding jobs will not only contribute to the economic crisis now but limit our capacity to recover in the future. We are particularly concerned that some companies may even see the crisis as a chance to target roles that they want to outsource. We know that this has already started happening.

It is vital that we get the strategy right, which is why we are again seeking a meeting with you to discuss workers’ concerns. This is a time to put politics aside and work together for the best possible outcome in this industry so we hope you will agree to meet.

A letter from the TWU this week to you laid out a list of solutions to save jobs and companies at the airport, including subsidies for companies and Newstart allowances with top-up payments for workers on unpaid leave. The letter and follow up communications from the TWU have gone unanswered.

The current crisis is not expected to last into the long-term, though the ramifications for the economy will be huge. The Australian economy will not bounce back if the transport infrastructure is not in place, if workers are not ready to return to work and if the skills they have acquired have been lost through mass cuts.

We warn against situations where well-paid airline executives get to set the terms of state assistance, with workers shut out and their interests ignored.

We await your urgent reply and stand by ready to meet.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Kaine – TWU National Secretary

Linda While – ASU Assistant National Secretary

Read our joint statement here

Media Release