Thousands of airport staff facing the sack



Thousands of airport goundstaff are facing the sack as the coronavirus pandemic suffocates the aviation industry.

Swissport is considering cutting up to 80 per cent of its workers including airport security staff, baggage handlers and tow truck drivers.

The ground operations company is asking the federal government for a $125 million bailout package to prevent it from going under.

Deputy Prime Minister and Transport Minister Michael McCormack is weighing up the request.

"I will seriously look at what they put in front of me ...I'm happy to talk to the company ...I understand what role they play," he told The Australian.

But Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has encouraged the company to make use of the government's $130 billion wage subsidy scheme instead.

"I would say to the company to stand down, if that's what they do, or to maintain their workers and to use the JobKeeper package to keep as many of them in a job," he told ABC radio on Wednesday.

"It doesn't make sense for a company to terminate their employees when the government will continue to support them staying on their books, so that important employer-employee relationship is continued through this crisis."

Swissport executive Glenn Rutherford says the plight of Virgin Australia has had a knock-on effect on his company, with the airline owing several million dollars in unpaid bills.

"This will have a material impact when (the government) eventually turns the (aviation) industry back on," he told The Australian.

"As soon as they open the borders and gates, it may take months ... and all those skills and equipment will be gone. There will be a crisis in getting it back into operation."

Swissport looks after ground services and cargo handling for domestic and international airlines at airports across Australia.

Originally published as Thousands of airport staff facing the sack


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