Airport delays are expected next week as members of the Australian Border Force and Department of Immigration hold a nationwide strike.
The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) has warned that international travel could be delayed as its members walk off the job for 24 hours on Friday week (12 August 2016) in the latest instalment of a lengthy dispute with the Federal Government over pay and conditions.
Unless called off, it will be the first strike since the Federal Government won a Fair Work Commission ruling preventing industrial action for three months. The government argued that terrorists or criminals could exploit depleted staff numbers during a strike. The ruling came a month after the union chose to delay strike action in the wake of the Brussels airport bombing.
Border Force officers will walk off the job from midnight on Friday 12 August 2016 at international airports, ports and other sites around the country, the CPSU warned.
The CPSU has advised departing and arriving passengers on international flights to allow extra time and to be prepared for possible delays during the industrial action.
“CPSU members are committed to national security and safety and this CPSU action has been designed to ensure those are not compromised,” a union statement said. “The union has more than 50 agreed exemptions in place for areas such as counter-terrorism and intelligence officers.”
CPSU national secretary Nadine Flood added: “This strike by workers in Immigration, Border Force and Agriculture reflects the frustration that continues to grow across the Commonwealth public sector. These people have been fighting for more than two years now as the Turnbull Government’s sought to strip their rights, conditions and take-home pay.
“As with past strikes, the impact of this action is likely to vary from place to place, but may cause delays for international air passengers.”
The CPSU says that across the public service, “around 75% of staff still don’t have new enterprise agreements.
“That’s more than 100,000 workers and their families who have now gone three years without a pay rise while struggling to hold on to basic workplace rights and conditions, particularly the ones that allow them to balance work with family commitments”.
Written by Peter Needham