Qantas plane refuellers to strike at Melbourne Airport

Qantas plane refuellers to strike at Melbourne Airport

Rivet workers refuelling planes for Qantas international, domestic and QLink at Melbourne airport have notified the company of a 24-hour strike on Wednesday.

The strike will happen if a solution is not provided to the increase of workloads and responsibilities without pay and conditions keeping pace.

Qantas is the major airline client of Rivet, accounting for roughly 60 per cent of Rivet’s refuelling work.

Workers have been locked in negotiations with Rivet for a year, leaving them little choice but to exercise their rights to protected industrial action to call the company back to the table to negotiate a fair solution.

TWU Vic/Tas assistant branch secretary Mem Suleyman said Rivet should act responsibly and respond to workers’ requests.

“For a year, Rivet refuellers have tried to reach a fair agreement but have instead been faced with base wage freezes which impact their pay now and long into the future,” Suleyman said. “In the current cost-of-living crisis it is unacceptable to expect workers to pick up extra responsibilities and work harder, faster and longer to make ends meet.

“These are workers in one of the most dangerous jobs in the airport, yet they are being pushed to the limit while pay and conditions fail to attract more workers to share the load.

“Although protected industrial action is always a last resort, these workers know it is the only option left to bring the company to a fair agreement.

Mem Suleyman

Mark Rowsthorn, CEO Rivet, told Travel Weekly that there’s been some back-and-forth between Rivet and the TWU, but the aviation supply company received no reply from the union off the back of the last two offers.

Rowsthorn said the TWU was looking to secure a four per cent increase per annum in a three year deal and that they were looking for “substantial back-pay.”

When asked about the TWU’s claim of increased workloads and responsibilities, Rowsthorn said “we don’t run a business like that.”

The 24-hour strike at Melbourne airport on Wednesday will commence at 4am and impact mostly Qantas, as well as freight companies Australia Air Express & DHL and some international carriers.

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