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Qantas stands down 2,500 workers amid Sydney lockdown

  • August 03 2021
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Qantas stands down 2,500 workers amid Sydney lockdown

By Cameron Micallef
August 03 2021

Qantas has announced that around 2,500 of its workers will be stood down from mid-August as the extended Greater Sydney lockdown takes its toll on domestic travel.

Qantas

Qantas stands down 2,500 workers amid Sydney lockdown

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  • August 03 2021
  • Share

Qantas has announced that around 2,500 of its workers will be stood down from mid-August as the extended Greater Sydney lockdown takes its toll on domestic travel.

Qantas

In a statement made by the airline, Qantas and Jetstar confirmed the changes would impact domestic pilots, cabin crews and airline workers, mostly based in NSW.

The staff will be paid in full for their two-week notice period, commencing now.

This announcement comes despite the government offering the airlines $750 per week for up to half of their air crew on the condition that none of them are retrenched.

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According to the government’s stimulus help, airlines that can show a 30 per cent downturn since Sydney was first declared a hotspot can claim for 50 per cent of their air crew workforce.

But the unions are worried the payment will create a two-class system, with airlines said to be forbidden from claiming payments for ground crew.

The Australian Services Union said this “bastardised JobKeeper system” does not make sense and would be an act of unspeakable cruelty to those who are abandoned.

However, justifying his actions, Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the difficult decision to trigger stand downs reflected the reality confronting many businesses operating in NSW.

“We’ve absorbed a significant amount of cost since these recent lockdowns started and continued paying our people their full rosters despite thousands of cancelled flights,” the CEO said.

According to Mr Joyce, the airline has gone from operating at near 100 per cent for domestic flying in May to less than 40 per cent with three states in lockdown.

“Hopefully, once other states open back up to South Australia and Victoria in the next week or so, and the current outbreak in Brisbane is brought under control, our domestic flying will come back to around 50 to 60 per cent of normal levels,” Mr Joyce said.

The ASU Union’s assistant national secretary, Emeline Gaske, said the stand-downs announced by Qantas meant the government needed to act immediately to reassure all aviation workers that they would be supported as COVID-19 continued to rock the sector.

“This announcement is devastating for Qantas and Jetstar workers,” she said. “These workers have had 18 months of hell – with many exhausting their savings, being forced to sell their homes, and tap into essential superannuation funds.

“Aviation workers are hanging by a thread, whether they work for a domestic airline, a foreign airline or in an airport support role,” Ms Gaske concluded.

Qantas stands down 2,500 workers amid Sydney lockdown
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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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