June 21, 2024


Aircraft refuelers at Ampol are pursuing protected industrial action rights in the Fair Work Commission after being continuously refused fair pay and conditions because of contract pressure from clients such as Qantas and Virgin.

Workers are outraged that the Australian petroleum company has objected to their right to hold a Protected Action Ballot, with a FWC hearing taking place today on the matter.

This comes despite members of the Transport Workers Union (TWU) meeting with the company 10 times, with Ampol largely refusing the majority of claims and avoiding formal written responses to workers. A proposed agreement by Ampol was also overwhelmingly voted down (64 no to 5 yes) by members.

Ampol has argued keeping workers among the lowest paid at the airport as being crucial to maintaining contracts, though its competitors such as Viva were winning work despite higher pay rates under TWU agreements.

The Australian petroleum company, which services Qantas’ international, domestic and freight aircraft and Virgin exclusively, protested worker demands and is trying to increase the notice period from three days to seven days for work stoppages. Virgin Australia tried to increase the notice period for ground workers at the end of last year but was unsuccessful.

Despite the state of the industry, ongoing attempts to keep pay and conditions low for aviation workers including through contract pressures from airlines shows the need for a Safe and Secure Skies Commission to set standards in aviation and prevent further harm to airport workers.

TWU NSW/QLD State Secretary Richard Olsen said Ampol aircraft refuelers have continually tried to reach a fair agreement but have instead been faced with delay and obstruction by the company.

“Although protected industrial action is always a last resort, these workers know it is the only option left to bring Ampol to a fair agreement after months of failed talks.”

“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. Airline clients must stop squeezing wages and conditions through cut-price contracts.

“These are workers in one of the most dangerous jobs at the airport, yet they are being pushed to the limit while pay and conditions fail to attract more workers to share the load. Ampol needs to come to the table and commit to improving the wages and conditions of its workers.”

“That’s why we need a Safe and Secure Skies Commission to rebalance our airports, make decisions in the public interest, and stabilize the industry.”

MEDIA CONTACT: Adam Jacobson – 0405 625 208 / adam.jacobson@twunsw.org.au


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