The new investment by Patrick Corporation in Virgin Airlines announced today could provide a significant boost for Ansett Airlines’ asset realisation program, the ACTU said today.

ACTU Secretary Greg Combet said payment of 100% of former Ansett employees’ entitlements depended on a successful sale of Ansett’s assets by the company Administrators.

“Former Ansett workers, especially long serving employees owed many years’ redundancy pay, will benefit from a successful asset realisation program,” Mr Combet said.

Many former Ansett employees are owed significantly more than the first instalment payments due next month, which are capped at eight weeks’ redundancy pay under the Federal Government’s entitlement scheme. Further payments on outstanding entitlements will be made as Ansett’s assets are sold.

“It is anticipated that the Patrick Virgin merger may lead to a bid for a number of Ansett assets, particularly the airport terminal leases. The ACTU and the airline unions remain committed to saving as many Ansett jobs as possible and to ensuring all employee entitlements are paid in full. If the Patrick/Virgin merger could lead to a positive outcome on jobs and entitlements, then it is welcome,” Mr Combet said.

“The waterfront dispute of 1998 will not play any part in the approach of the ACTU or the unions in dealing with this issue. Our responsibility is to the staff of Ansett and also to the staff of Virgin.

“Patrick Stevedoring is a fully unionised operation and notwithstanding the bitterness of the 1998 dispute, both the unions and the company have worked hard in recent years to rebuild relationships,” Mr Combet said.