Coronavirus crisis: Virgin Australia braces for mass redundancies, 8000 workers asked to take leave
The head of Virgin Australia says more than 1000 of 8000 workers asked to take leave in the face of the coronavirus will probably be made redundant.
The airline has asked 80 per cent of its 10,000 staff to take a mixture of holiday, long service leave and leave without pay.
“Of the 8000 that we asked to stand down yesterday, there is probably going to be more than a 1000 of those (who) we do make redundant,” Virgin Australia managing director Paul Scurrah told the ABC on Thursday.
“This is the worst airline crisis the world has ever seen.”
Virgin Australia is also looking to redeploy staff to other companies - including major supermarkets and big banks - that need staff during the pandemic.
Meanwhile, Flight Centre has announced more than 3800 of its Australian travel agency staff would be temporarily stood down.
The company is slashing about 6000 support and sales role across the globe, either temporarily or permanently.
Thousands of workers in hospitality have been shown the door as businesses close down to curb the spread of COVID-19.
This has resulted in long queues outside Centrelink offices as people try to claim benefits.
Labor is calling on the government to bring forward support for workers and business as the number of jobseekers surges and more businesses close their doors.
The coronavirus supplement - paid at a rate of $550 per fortnight - will effectively double the JobSeeker payment - the former Newstart allowance.
But the supplement won’t reach sacked workers until April 27.
The second payment won’t be paid until July 10, while pensioners and families will have to wait 16 weeks for the payment.
Business groups and unions are calling on the government to copy the UK and introduce a wage subsidy, which guarantees 80 per cent of a company’s wage bill.
Economists expect the unemployment rate to surge in the coming months, possibly as high as 11 per cent, as the economy suffers its first recession in nearly 30 years.
That would be more than double the 5.1 per cent rate recorded in February and the highest rate since 1993, when the economy was still suffering from the last recession.