The ASU recently received correspondence from Thai Airways International (‘known as THAI’) stating that they don’t intend to apply for the JobKeeper scheme and that they believe they’re ineligible for the program.
We reviewed the tax status of a number of overseas airlines, including THAI, to assess their eligibility under the government’s Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Payments and Benefits) Rules 2020.
The ASU believes that under the rules, an employer can be excluded from the JobKeeper scheme when they are 100% owned by a foreign government. In the case of THAI, the Company is about 51% owned by the Ministry of Finance - Thailand.
Stand downs at THAI
ASU members confirmed for us that THAI flights to Australia were suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic and most staff were stood down from 1 April to 30 June 2020. Employees are stood down without pay and only limited access to leave accruals.
THAI told staff to seek alternative government assistance to get them through these unprecedented times but ASU members have said that not all employees are eligible for assistance.
I have worked for Thai Airways for many years, paid taxes, never claimed a dollar from our Government and now I’m being told I am not able to apply for the JobSeeker assistance during the period of stand down due to my age...
Very little has been communicated to staff since Stand Down started and this is very worrying for employees.
Employees are asking whether the current period of Stand Down up to 30 June 2020 is going to be extended.
Consultation with staff
We wrote to THAI about reconsidering their decision to apply for the JobKeeper scheme. Here is a copy of our letter.
We called on THAI to assist staff during the difficult times ahead by applying for JobKeeper and consulting with employees about where the Company is headed.
- Has sought an urgent meeting to urge THAI to review the decision and elect to participate in the JobKeeper scheme;
- Has sought clarity about some international media reports that THAI has planned to permanently reduce the flying capacity of its Australian operations; and,
- Reminded THAI of the obligation to consult with employees during Stand Down.
Communicating with staff on a regular basis seems like the least THAI can do.
Through their agent the Company has rejected calls to meet with employees’ legitimate workplace representatives. A copy of their letter can be found here.
It’s time to stand together
It’s a tough time for aviation workers, but if we stick together we can protect jobs and pay. Please pass this bulletin to your friends and co-workers at THAI. If you are not an ASU member, you can join at www.asu.asn.au/ASUJOIN.
Speak to your ASU organiser for more information: (download full bulletin here)