RACQ workers sacked as virus forces cars off roads
FEWER cars on Queensland's roads has created a "significant drop" in activity for automotive and insurance giant RACQ, which is now asking thousands of staff to take leave amid the coronavirus shutdown.
Roadside assistance, motor vehicle insurance and travel departments are among the hardest hit in the RACQ business as the coronavirus drags Queensland to a standstill.
The number of RACQ roadside assistance claims each day has fallen from an average of 2600 to 2000 over the past week, with fewer cars on roads responsible for the sharp drop.
RACQ spokesman Paul Turner said the 115-year-old group had recorded a "significant downturn in activity in some of our key areas", prompting management to act.
"We've gone out proactively to staff and asked them to take holidays, including long service leave," he said.
About 2000 of the group's 2500 staff are now working from home.
Mr Turner said about 40 new employees due to start work in RACQ's call centre and business departments were let go, with the group unable to train them due to government distancing restrictions and technology limitations.
Another 40 people working within RACQ's travel department also face uncertain times, with the travel business "effectively shut down".
Mr Turner said members would not notice any change to RACQ services despite the turbulent times.
"RACQ has been around for 115 years and we intend to be around for another 115," he said.
"We've been through a couple of world wars and recessions."
RACQ's downturn comes as more people attempt to sell cars, with the number of listings on Car Sales jumping by 24,000 in three days.
Queensland Motor Valuations director Troy Dwyer said the number of ads increased from about 200,000 last week to 224,000 yesterday.
"I've never seen the number of listings that high or growth that rapid," he said.
"There can only be an economic factor to it.
"People are losing their jobs or reducing their household expenses and all of a sudden that bus stop 400 metres up the road doesn't look so bad."
Originally published as RACQ workers sacked as virus forces cars off roads