March 6, 2023


Rivet workers refuelling planes for Qantas international, domestic and QLink at Melbourne airport have notified the company of a 24-hour strike on Wednesday if a fair 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% of Rivet’s refuelling work. Yet despite Qantas reporting $1 billion half-year profit, the workers refuelling Qantas planes haven’t received a pay increase for almost three years.

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’ reasonable requests for recognition and solutions to high work volumes to avoid disruption to flights out of Melbourne airport.

“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. 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.

“Aviation was decimated throughout the pandemic, but Alan Joyce is now gloating about a $1 billion half-year profit while overworked aviation workers getting Qantas planes refuelled and into the air are struggling under the pressure.

“Rebuilding the aviation industry is going to require more investment in good, secure jobs, not executive bonuses or shareholder dividends at an airline wielding huge commercial power across our airports. That’s why we need a Safe and Secure Skies Commission to rebalance our airports, make decisions in the public interest and stabilise the industry,” he said.

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.

Media contacts: Ashley Stewart 0409 200 864, Pippa Hatton 0418 982 257

Join the TWU today

Transport workers are fighting for a fairer, safer industry. Join them today and secure your future.

Join Today