Easter travel plans for thousands of Australians have fallen under a cloud with customs and immigration staff set to strike from today in a series of rolling stoppages.
The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) has called a round of strikes to show its “growing frustration with the Federal Government’s attack on existing rights in bargaining”.
The action began yesterday (Monday 21 March 2016) with an all-day strike by staff in key Commonwealth agencies including Medicare, Centrelink, the Tax Office, Defence, the Bureau of Meteorology, the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Bureau of Statistics.
Now comes the crunch. That action will be followed “by weeks of rolling strikes at international airports over the Easter school holidays and beyond, including a 24-hour strike across the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIPB) and the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources,” the CPSU said is an issued statement.
The 24-hour strike by CPSU members in Immigration, Border Protection and Agriculture – including at international airports – will take place on Easter Thursday, when thousands of Australians are heading away on holiday.
CPSU has formally notified DIBP of rolling strike action by Border Force officers at international airports and elsewhere, starting today, 22 March 2016.
CPSU national secretary Nadine Flood said: “Striking workers are targeting the politicians and bosses who continue to treat them with contempt, but these rolling strikes may have some impact on the public, particularly at international airports. As with previous action at airports, we would advise passengers to contact their airline for information on whether they will be affected, and allow extra time when departing and arriving on international flights.
“These large-scale strikes reflect the incredible frustration being felt by people working in the public sector. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has ignored our offer of talks to fix the Government’s public sector bargaining mess, so serious industrial action will begin on Monday and continue in airports for a number of weeks.”
The union is pushing for members to be allowed to continue “to juggle their work with their parenting and other responsibilities” and it wants domestic violence leave added to work agreements.
“The Government’s unfair attack is even worse for some, with some of the Border Force officers who’ll be striking at airports and elsewhere still facing actual cuts to their take-home pay,” Flood said.
“Workers are being asked to cop losing a raft of rights in return for a two-year wage freeze and then a low-ball offer of 2% a year after that.”
Written by Peter Needham