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News headings from LabourStart

Pearce air base refuellers were prepared to dig in

« Back to News Articles Pearce air base refuellers were prepared to dig in

A big upfront rise was the main feature of a recently negotiated agreement for aircraft refuellers at the Pearce Air Base.

The refuellers are employed by contractor Transfield– and they have the important job of fuelling up all the RAAF planes.

Refuelling our strategic aircraft is bit more involved than the general run of the mill stuff.

There is a high level of security on base and the guys are involved in months of inductions and training before they can even commence.

Negotiations with the contractor began more than four months back – and the never-ending talks were certainly testing everyone’s patience.

Transfield had been reasonable but their original offer was simply not up to scratch.

Their first offer was around 4% per year over three years – and it was unanimously rejected by the refuellers.

There had been half-a-dozen frustrating meetings but the guys stuck together and were prepared to dig in for a fight.

Our target was to bring them up to general standards in the fuel industry.

We had almost reached the point of no return and protected industrial was looking highly likely.

We let the company know this and gave them one last chance to fix things before we opted for our last resort – strike action!

Fortunately Transfield came back with an improved offer including an initial increase of 8% for the first year. Followed by 3.5% + 3.5%. Two small .25% increases in super will take contributions to 9.5% by 2014. Not a lot but moving in the right direction.

Other improvements included increases in meal allowance, call back and standby allowances.
The only spanner in the works remaining is that Transfield is trying to take away the penalty rates that refuellers get when they are deployed in Esperance. These higher rates are in a side agreement that was done a few years back.

If we can sort out that issue we will go to a vote on the new agreement. Special thanks from me and our Transfield members to our delegate Rob Kerr. Rob’s a good solid fellar who put in a big effort