The workers who re-fuel Qantas planes at Melbourne Airport are planning to strike for 24 hours this week in a push to achieve better pay and working conditions.

The strike is expected to affect Qantas flight out of the airport from 4am on Wednesday to 4am on Thursday, as well as freight companies Australia Air Express and DHL, and some international carriers.

The Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) has advised it is fighting for a pay rise and better conditions for the workers employed by company Rivet.

About 60 per cent of Rivet’s re-fuelling work is for Qantas.

TWU’s Mem Suleyman said the company’s employees had been unsuccessfully trying to get a better working agreement for a year, leaving them no choice but to take industrial action.

“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,” he said.

“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.

A Qantas spokesperson has told “there has been no changes to Qantas 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,” the spokesperson said.

A Melbourne Airport spokesperson said they would continue to work with airlines to minimise any disruption to travellers.

“Melbourne Airport is in talks with the refuelling company and our airline customers to understand the potential impact planned industrial action may have on operations,” the spokesperson said.