Australian union demands MNC to return $ 20 M worth of subsidies

The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) in Australia called on Multinational construction giant CIMIC Group to return a total of USD 20 million worth of Jobkeeper payments it took from taxpayers during the start of the pandemic. 

CFMEU made the call after CIMIC reportedly earned an after-tax profit of $620 million last year. The company also delivered more than $468 million to its investors through share buybacks and dividends.

"JobKeeper was designed to keep Australian workers employed through the pandemic, not to underwrite multinational company profits and deliver huge returns to investors," CFMEU National Construction Secretary Dave Noonan said. 

"CIMIC needs to do the right thing and repay the subsidies it took through JobKeeper at the start of the pandemic,” Noonan added. 

The BWI-affiliated union called on Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison to exercise his regulatory powers to compel CIMIC to return the money to the people.

"Australian workers could rightly feel betrayed when they see Scott Morrison trying to cut their wages through his IR Omnibus Bill while handing out millions in subsidies to highly profitable businesses. The hundreds of thousands of people who lost jobs or had their hours reduced will not simply swallow revelations that their pain helped deliver massive profits to multinational companies like CIMIC,” Noonan stressed. 

BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson agreed. “We stand with CFMEU on this issue. It is the height of opportunism and greediness for multinational companies to earn massive profits from COVID-19 subsidies sourced from struggling taxpayers,” he said.  

“In the time of pandemic, governments must ensure the job security, living wages and health and safety of workers over and above the super profits of MNCs. Workers deserve nothing less,” Yuson concluded.