• Sun. Mar 12th, 2023

Qantas plane refuellers to strike on Wednesday at Melbourne airport

Passengers on flights out of Melbourne airport could face major delays on Wednesday, as workers refuse to refuel planes for 24 hours.

Travellers on a number of airlines including Qantas could be looking at service disruptions as domestic and international flights are impacted by the strike from 4am on Wednesday.

The Transport Workers Union has told refuelling company Rivet, which services QantasLink and DHL, that their workers will strike over pay negotiations.

It comes after 12 months of discussions over increasing workloads, attracting new staff and demands for higher pay.

TWU assistant branch secretary Mem Suleyman said the union was calling on Rivet to come to the table or risk widespread disruptions to travel on Wednesday.

“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,” he 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.”

In January, Melbourne airport reported its highest foot traffic in three years, while the industry continues to face the challenges of recovering from pandemic shutdowns.

Mr Suleyman said it was a “last resort” for workers who had reached breaking point after months of trying to come to an agreement with Rivet.

“Aviation was decimated throughout the pandemic, but (Qantas chief executive) Alan Joyce is now gloating about a $1bn half-year profit while overworked aviation workers getting planes refuelled and into the air are struggling,” he said.

A Qantas spokesperson said there has been no changes to flights out of Melbourne on Wednesday.

“Once we have more details from Rivet about the impact of the planned strike by their workers we can put in place contingencies such as carrying additional fuel from other airports to minimise impacts to our customers,” they said.

Read related topics:MelbourneQantas

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