Union poll canvasses nationalisation of Qantas

A major union has commissioned a public opinion poll which it claims shows strong public support for the Government taking a stake on Qantas on the basis of the current bail-out arrangements. 

The poll, commissioned by the Transport Workers Union (TWU) found a majority of people - 62% - wanted the Government to take a stake in private companies which require bailouts, with 50% stating Qantas should be nationalised if the current situation gets worse and only 20% opposed.  

It said the YouGov poll also showed the public was very supportive of the Federal Government’s relief to airlines last week, with 68% saying they agreed with the $715 million assistance package. 

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Commenting on the poll, TWU national secretary, Michael Kaine said the public was clearly in favour of helping out a critical industry like aviation. 

“People are supportive of measures to assist companies like Qantas when times are tough and they don’t believe that support should end there,” he said. “Aviation is critical to a country like Australia and hundreds of thousands of workers, companies and other industries depend on it, both directly and indirectly. What isn’t in the country’s interest is having airlines on this erratic trajectory where every few years they are requiring public assistance. We need a new type of management.” 

Kaine also noted that the opinion poll had also shown 80% of people believed executive bonuses and shareholder dividends should not be paid until Qantas workers were paid back the accrued and future leave the company was forcing them to take. Almost two-thirds said Qantas should ensure its workers did not have to take unpaid leave. 

“The poll shows the public are acutely aware of the dynamics at play and that assistance for the airlines and other private companies should go hand-in-hand with fairness for those expected to bear the brunt of the hardships, namely workers. People know that this crisis will abate and that when it does those badly affected should be compensated,” Kaine said. 


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