Ansett employees would be short changed hundreds of millions of dollars under the Howard Government’s new entitlements scheme, according to calculations released by the ACTU today.

All employees with more than four years service with Ansett faced losing pay under the Howard Governement’s proposed eight-week cap on accrued redundancy pay.

“John Howard is threatening to short change thousands of Ansett workers, with hundreds facing losses of tens of thousands of dollars each,” ACTU President Sharan Burrow said today.

“The longer you have worked for Ansett, the more you will lose under John Howard’s scheme,” Ms Burrow told a mass meeting of Ansett employees at Melbourne’s Tullamarine airport.

Anette Goddard, a clerk at Ansett’s Melbourne Supply Depot for more than 19 years, told the rally she would lose approximately $37,200 in outstanding redundancy pay under Mr Howard’s scheme.

Denise Anette, a clerk in the Melbourne Supply Depot for 16 years, told the rally she would be short changed approximately $31,000 under Mr Howard’s proposed eight-week cap on outstanding redundancy pay.

Pilots, baggage handlers, flight attendants, caterers, engineering and maintenance workers with many years service with Ansett stood to lose even more because of their higher pay rates, according to the calculations.

“John Howard paid 100% of the entitlements owed to employees at his brother’s company, National Textiles, when it collapsed last year. Loyal Ansett employees also deserve nothing less that 100% of their money that they have earned and are owed,” Ms Burrow said.

“Unions will take all necessary action to ensure that Ansett employees are paid everything they are owed. We will not let Air New Zealand and the Howard Government get away with short changing Australian workers.”