MARCH 23, 2020 – AMWU National Assistant Secretary Glenn Thompson:
"The AMWU is calling on Qantas to urgently bring forward scheduled aircraft maintenance to mitigate the effects of the stand-down. Qantas can use this down time to get ahead of their maintenance schedule and keep their workers gainfully employed. The longer workers can continue doing their jobs before being stood down, the better. Every day makes a difference. Bringing forward work that has to be done eventually is a smart way for Qantas to support its workforce.
"The AMWU is also calling for Qantas to extend 14 days of special leave to all workers who are being stood down as a result of the Coronavirus. The cost of this stand-down should not be borne by workers alone. We don't know how long this stand-down will continue. Big companies with deep pockets like Qantas must support their workers in these uncertain times by providing two weeks special leave at the beginning of the stand-down period.”
Dan Walton National Secretary of the Australian Workers’ Union:
“These workers have supported Qantas through its good times and it’s only right that Qantas should now be looking out for them during this crisis.
“It’s essential that these highly trained and skilled workers are not only supported until May, but that Qantas and the Federal Government have a plan in place for the months ahead as we have no idea how long COVID-19 will take to overcome.
“Our members are the ones doing the essential work to ensure these planes remain up in the air and provide a safe passage. They are doing that not only from a maintenance point of view but also cleaning these planes from top to bottom to ensure that we stop the spread of coronavirus. We need these workers to do this vitally important job more than ever.”
Electrical Trades Union National Secretary Allen Hicks:
“As the COVID-19 crisis continues to ground airlines and restrict travel, it’s imperative that any Federal monetary aid go directly to those experiencing loss of work and income. Qantas is a major company with healthy profit margins and well-remunerated upper management. The focus of financial relief efforts needs to be the working people who are most impacted by this crisis.
“While we welcome efforts by the company to ensure those being stood down retain access to some benefits, it’s a distinct and real possibility that many workers won’t have leave accrued or access to entitlements throughout this period.
“Both Qantas and the Federal Government need to take urgent action to protect the livelihoods of affected workers and their families.
“Any failure to do so will have drastic flow-on consequences for Australian communities, for our economy, and for the future workforce in this crucial industry.”