The Howard Government’s new employee entitlement scheme short changes Ansett workers by up to $200 million in legally owed redundancy pay, the ACTU said today.

“Employees with more than four years service with Ansett will be short changed under Prime Minister John Howard’s scheme because it only offers eight weeks redundancy pay. Thousands of Ansett employees miss out on tens of thousands of dollars each under Mr Howard’s scheme,” ACTU Secretary Greg Combet said.

“Mr Howard says his scheme covers 100% of statutory entitlements. That is not the case because the scheme only covers eight weeks redundancy pay. Many Ansett employees are legally entitled to between 20 and 100 weeks redundancy pay. The longer you have worked for Ansett, the more you are dudded.

“Mr Howard’s scheme is an insult to Ansett workers, particularly those loyal employees who’ve given their working lives to what was a great Australian company and who now face losing their life savings.

“Mr Howard paid 100% of the entitlements of employees at his brother’s company, National Textiles. He should do the same for Ansett employees,” Mr Combet said.

Anette Goddard, a clerk at Ansett’s Melbourne Supply Depot for more than 19 years, loses about $37,200 in redundancy pay under Mr Howard’s scheme. Denise Anett, a clerk in the Melbourne Supply Depot for 16 years, is short changed $31,000 under Mr Howard’s scheme.

“Unions are working 24 hours a day to help get Ansett employees working again and to guarantee every employee’s entitlements 100%,” Mr Combet said.

The ACTU has set up a special telephone hotline and website service for Ansett employees concerned about their entitlements, social security rights, employment status, or further work opportunities.

The toll free telephone hotline number is: 1300 365 205