July 9, 2024


Aircraft refuellers are calling on Ampol to provide fairer pay, better hours and more full-time positions to avert strikes following an overwhelming vote in support of taking protected industrial action.

The company has claimed keeping workers among the lowest paid was crucial for maintaining contracts with airlines such as Qantas.

92% participated in the vote and 100% of those voted in favour of protected industrial action rights, which would allow more than 50 workers at Sydney Airport to take industrial action in the coming weeks and months if Ampol doesn’t respond with a fairer deal. Workers voted yes to a number of stoppages, including four, eight and 24 hours, seven days and up to an unlimited period.

Discussions continue today with Ampol.

Over the past 18 months, Qantas posted $3.72 billion in underlying profit, while the four largest airports raked in $1.7 billion over the last financial year.

Workers are now demanding Ampol return to the negotiating table today and meet their demands on the following issues:

  • Comparable Pay Rates: To be paid rates comparable to Ampol’s competitors and recognition for the hours they work.
  • Job Security: Guaranteed part-time hours and a preference for full-time positions.
  • Consultation: Genuine consultation and inclusion, not as an afterthought.
  • Disputes Process: Improved process which protects workers.

TWU NSW/QLD State Secretary Richard Olsen said Ampol workers have voted overwhelmingly to secure the right to take protected industrial action due to the company’s shocking treatment, driven by contract pressures from major airlines like Qantas.

“Strike action is always a last resort, and today Ampol can avert the need for workers to take action by coming to the table with a reasonable offer.

“These workers are dedicated to staying in the industry, but they simply cannot afford to let their wages and conditions deteriorate any further. Demand for aviation is booming but jobs have become second-rate, led by an obsession by privatised airlines and airports with obscene profits. Workers are looking for better hours for part-timers and more full-time positions so they have job security for themselves and their families.”

“At airports nationwide, workers are overburdened and exhausted as they strive to keep flights running smoothly, yet they continue to struggle with wages barely above the legal minimum and few guarantees around rostered hours.”

“The aviation industry’s short-term, profit-driven focus driven by Qantas’ race to the bottom has brought us to a crisis in aviation. We urgently need a Safe and Secure Skies commission to set fair standards across the industry and ensure we have highly skilled and experienced workers from the baggage room to the cockpit.”


  • The Fair Work Commission (FWC) in June approved the workers’ Protected Action Ballot (PAB) questions despite Ampol’s attempts to stop it. The Australian petroleum company, which also exclusively services Virgin aircraft, failed to get the Commission to increase the notice period for work stoppages from three to seven days.
  • Prior to the ballot, Transport Workers Unions (TWU) members had met with Ampol management 10 times, but the company largely refused claims and avoided formal responses. A proposed agreement by Ampol was overwhelmingly rejected by members (64 no to 5 yes).
  • The Australian union movement recently backed a Safe and Secure Skies Commission to hold airlines and airports to account and ensure aviation meets the needs of workers, passengers and the community.


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