JobKeeper blamed as hundreds of Virgin staff stood down

 

Hundreds of Virgin Australia ground workers have been stood down by the airline with the aviation industry 'teetering on the brink' just days after the end of JobKeeper.

Australia's second-largest carrier wrote to all its ground staff on Monday advising them they were "not required to work" until April 18 unless advised otherwise.

It is understood Virgin Australia was unable to guarantee minimum hours for its "below the wing" workers - which would have breached their employment agreements.

"The stand-down direction is because of a limitation on the availability of work caused by the COVID-19 pandemic which means that you cannot be employed for your normal days/hours of work," the letter to staff said.

The Transport Workers' Union has filed a dispute in the Fair Work Commission against Virgin over the airline's decision.

Comment has been sought from Virgin Australia.

TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said the standing down of Virgin workers was a direct result of the Federal Government's decision to end JobKeeper.

"The Prime Minister's cheap flights plan turned out to be a cheap trick played on aviation workers," he said.

"The Federal Government's decision to cut off JobKeeper has resulted in Virgin workers being stood down from their jobs.

"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."

Mr Kaine said flights into Brisbane had been cancelled because of the lockdown, with aviation unable to bounce back while the pandemic continues.

"Virgin is telling workers its flying schedule means the work is not there for them and it can only roster them on partially," he said.

A survey of more than 900 aviation workers earlier this month revealed that the jobs of almost 90 per cent continue to be affected by the pandemic with only 11 per cent back to working in their jobs with normal hours.

One in five workers were stood down from their jobs and 33 per cent are working reduced hours.

Originally published as JobKeeper blamed as hundreds of Virgin staff stood down



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