Grounded Ansett workers have called on Prime Minister John Howard to help save their jobs by preventing the company going into liquidation.

ACTU Secretary Greg Combet today said that Ansett’s 17,000 employees were increasingly concerned that Mr Howard was more intent on seeing Ansett liquidated than on helping find a solution to the airline crisis.

Revelations on Channel Nine’s Sunday program today from Air New Zealand Chairman Jim Farmer and Chief Executive Gary Tooomey provided further evidence that the Howard Government’s support over recent months for Qantas and its commercial interests had contributed to Ansett’s collapse.

“It is becoming clearer that the Howard Government has supported Qantas’ efforts to totally dominate the Australian aviation industry. Unions are determined to get as many Ansett employees back to work as soon as possible. But Mr Howard’s apparent support for Qantas is not helping the Ansett workers,” Mr Combet said.

“Mr Howard needs to come clean. Does he support getting Ansett employees back to work, or does he want to see Ansett liquidated? Tens of thousands of Australian jobs will be wiped out unless Mr Howard helps save Ansett from liquidation,” Mr Combet said.

Today’s revelations follow the leaking last week of a confidential letter to Mr Howard from Ansett’s parent company, Air New Zealand, dated August 14 and advising Mr Howard of the extent of the crisis facing Ansett.

“Mr Howard sat back while Ansett went into Administration and then was grounded. Now he seems ready to sit back and see Ansett go into liquidation, with the loss of tens of thousands of Australian jobs. Mr Howard should come clean and indicate his support for saving Ansett jobs,” Mr Combet said.