Unions have demanded that any future government bailout of the airlines include money to pay workers after Australia’s national carrier, Qantas, said it will stand down two-thirds of its 30,000-strong workforce without pay and end international flights.
Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said the standdowns were needed to survive the biggest crisis aviation has ever been through, but union leaders slammed the move for robbing from workers’ futures to prop up the airline.
Joyce said it was “survival of the fittest” in the airline industry due to the coronavirus pandemic, and “lots of airlines are going to go under”.
The only thing we can say with certainty is that the fallout from coronavirus is going to be brutal
“Qantas will not be one of them,” he said. “One of the things we are working on is making sure we are last man standing.”
The decision comes despite a $715m rescue package for the Australian airline sector, unveiled by the government on Wednesday.