Airplane refuelers strike threatens to disrupt flights

A 24-hour strike by workers refueling flights of Qantas and other international airlines at Melbourne Airport threatens to disrupt flights.

The industrial action from 4 a.m. Wednesday to 4 a.m. Thursday seeks better wages and conditions for workers employed by the Rivet Group, the transport union said.

Mem Suleiman, assistant secretary of the union’s Victorian branch, said companies should seek approval and sustainable wages and conditions to meet workers’ reasonable demands and avoid disrupting flights from Melbourne. Stated.

“For a year, Rivet refuelers have been trying to reach a fair deal, but they are instead facing a freeze on base salaries, impacting current and future wages,” Suleiman said. .

“In the current cost of living crisis, it is unacceptable to expect workers to take on extra responsibility and work harder, faster and longer to make ends meet.”

Workers had one of the most dangerous jobs at the airport, Suleiman said, but were marginalized when wages and conditions failed to attract more people to share the burden. rice field.

Industrial action is the only option left to bring the companies to a fair and sustainable agreement, he said.

Rivet Aviation said in a statement that it was “extremely disappointed” that it had not been able to reach a conclusion to the discussion and that it understood the negative impact it would have on travelers.

However, he said he disagreed with the arguments put forward by the union and could not continue to exist.

“As our business battles COVID-19 and continues to struggle to be profitable today, it goes without saying that the requested 12% wage increase will be implemented immediately,” Libet said in a statement. No,” he said.

“We are one of the highest paying companies in the sector and, like most companies, we are indebted to our existing contracts with our customers who are large multinationals.”

The company said that even if the union decides to go on strike, it will only ultimately result in business failure and employees losing their jobs.

Rivet serves major cargo and passenger airlines such as Qantas, DHL, Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, Fiji Airways and Qatar Airways.

Qantas has signed a deal with ExxonMobil to provide fuel for flights out of Melbourne. Oil and gas companies then subcontract Rivet to refuel the aircraft.

A Qantas spokeswoman said Wednesday’s flights were not expected to be significantly impacted after the operations team put in place workarounds.

Workarounds included flying a spare A380 from Sydney to Melbourne with the maximum amount of fuel and using it to refuel the other aircraft.

The company was also carrying extra fuel on flights to Melbourne to minimize refueling needs and maximize remaining refueling capacity.

“We are also working closely with Melbourne Airport and other industry partners to minimize the impact on our customers,” said a spokeswoman.

“We recommend that you proceed to the airport as usual.”

A spokeswoman for Melbourne Airport said the airport is working with airlines to minimize disruption to travelers.