Chaos is expected at Australia’s international airports on Monday with thousands of staff walking off the job.
Border Force staff began a strike at midnight as part of industrial action to protect pay and conditions.
About 5000 workers will take part in the Community and Public Sector Union’s 24-hour strike at international airports, ports, mail and cargo centres.
This could cause major disruptions for travellers, and they have been advised to arrive at the airport with plenty of time before their flights.
Nadine Flood from the Community and Public Sector Union said cuts to conditions could see some staff lose up to $20,000 from their current pay packets.
‘These Border Force workers do an important job keeping Australia safe and they still face cuts to their current pay and working conditions in a dispute that’s now run for over a year so it’s a pretty tough situation,’ Ms Flood told the Today show.
She added they tried to give people as much warning as possible so as to cause the least disruptions, and the Department of Immigration had methods in place to minimise the impact.
When asked what she would tell passengers who were put out by the strike, Ms Flood said the union simply wanted a conversation with the government.
‘The message is this, these border force workers and working mums and dads like you, all they want the government to do is to stop threatening to cut their current pay, and their working rights, and actually come to the table and negotiate.
‘We’re hoping that Prime Minister Turnbull will have a rethink, he hasn’t so far which is why we’re back here. We’d really like to get this resolved before Christmas by sitting down and sorting it out,’ Ms Flood said.
Speaking to Sunrise on the same morning, Ms Flood agreed that with flights already delayed in and out of Bali made it more difficult for travellers.
‘It has ended up falling on a very difficult day,’ she told Network Seven on Monday.
‘We weren’t in a position to change the date,’ she said.
International aiports affected are Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth, Darwin, Cairns and the Gold Coast.