SIA, Qantas say flights unchanged ahead of planned work strike at Melbourne Airport

The 24-hour strike at Melbourne Airport could see planes of several airlines, including Singapore Airlines, go without fuel. PHOTO: ST FILE

MELBOURNE – Despite a looming 24-hour strike slated to start on Wednesday at Melbourne Airport, passengers need not worry as contingency plans are in place to ensure things go smoothly.

A spokesman for the airport told The Straits Times that most flights are expected to go on schedule, and passengers should proceed as normal unless specifically contacted by their respective airline.

The strike, which involves some 40 employees from Rivet Group – a major refuelling company – could leave planes from several airlines such as Qantas, Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines (SIA), without fuel.

However, these affected airlines have put in place plans to minimise disruptions, with international flights prepared to make a stop in Adelaide or Sydney in order to refuel.

A Qantas spokesman said that its Wednesday flight schedule had not been changed, but that it would contact passengers directly if there were any disruptions. 

SIA will be doing the same if there were any changes to any of its four daily flights that operate between Singapore and Melbourne, said the national carrier’s spokesman.

He added: “SIA is working closely with key stakeholders and service providers to ensure our operations to and from Melbourne can continue with as little disruption as possible to our customers.”

The strike, which starts at 4am local time (1am Singapore time), comes after more than a year of negotiations by workers with Rivet Group for higher pay and better working conditions.

The workers had not received a pay raise for the past three years, reported Melbourne newspaper The Age, and had asked for improved overtime provisions and leave entitlements. 

ST has contacted Rivet Group for more information on its workers’ demands, as well as the likelihood of reaching a consensus with them.

Forty-two of 44 employees at Melbourne Airport are eligible to take action if there is no response to their demands, but Rivet Group’s executive chairman Mark Rowsthorn was reported as saying that the threat of industrial action was “unnecessary”.

The company had previously provided two offers to the Transport Workers Union, which represents the workers, but those had been ignored and labelled unsatisfactory, and it had approached the union on Monday to understand which parts of the package did not meet its workers’ expectations, said Mr Rowsthorn.

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