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‘Cheap trick’ stimulus sees Virgin stand down hundreds of workers

  • April 01 2021
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‘Cheap trick’ stimulus sees Virgin stand down hundreds of workers

By Cameron Micallef
April 01 2021

Hundreds of Virgin Australia staff have been stood down without pay for at least three weeks as the government ends support for businesses.

Virgin Australia

‘Cheap trick’ stimulus sees Virgin stand down hundreds of workers

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  • April 01 2021
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Hundreds of Virgin Australia staff have been stood down without pay for at least three weeks as the government ends support for businesses.

Virgin Australia

The Transport Workers Union (TWU) has filed a dispute against Virgin over its standing down of workers following the federal government’s wind up of the JobKeeper program. 

In a statement, the union claimed that Virgin's decision to stand down employees comes as a direct result of JobKeeper ending, with the government predicting a further 150,000 jobs to go across all sectors after the stimulus package wrapped up on 28 March.

TWU national secretary Michael Kaine described the prime minister’s cheap flights plan as a ‘cheap trick played on aviation workers’, following the announcement of a $1.2 billion stimulus package to support domestic tourism.  

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“The federal government’s decision to cut off JobKeeper has resulted in Virgin workers being stood down from their jobs,” Mr Kaine said.

“This disastrous move by Scott Morrison means domestic aviation workers have been cut adrift and Virgin workers are now worried sick about how they will pay their bills and feed their families.”

The union explained that the federal government rejected aviation worker calls for Aviation Keeper, wage support for all aviation workers stood down with strict conditions capping executive salaries, banning bonuses and dividends and banning outsourcing.

“The TWU and seven other aviation unions wrote to Scott Morrison when he made his cheap flights announcement warning that jobs in aviation would be put at risk.

“Just a few days after JobKeeper died, we are already seeing the effect. The Prime Minister has refused to meet aviation workers to hear why a wage subsidy, even with short-term extensions, is vital,” Mr Kaine explained. 

The union also claimed the current system of supporting international aviation workers only, is not fit for purpose. 

“Qantas is the only ones getting it since Virgin has no international crew remaining. We are again asking the Prime Minister to save jobs in aviation and to reverse the decision to kill Jobkeeper,” Kaine added.

The TWU argued that Virgin Australia had breached its enterprise bargaining agreement because it failed to consult with the union about the stand down from 29 March until 18 April. 

In its application to the Fair Work Commission, the union said Virgin Australia refused to reverse the decision to stand down all pit crew employees, which include baggage handlers, ramp workers and pushback drivers in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.

‘Cheap trick’ stimulus sees Virgin stand down hundreds of workers
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About the author

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Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

About the author

author image
Cameron Micallef

Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

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