INTERNATIONAL travellers are urged to factor in extra time at Australia’s airports today due to 24-hour strikes at airports across the country.
Department of Immigration and Border Protection staff went on strike at midnight on Friday over a three-year pay dispute with the Federal Government. Quarantine and airport biosecurity workers are expected to hold a one-hour stop-work meeting today.
Travellers planning to leave the country are being encouraged to arrive at the nation’s airports and ports early and arriving passengers are urged to prepare for lengthy delays.
Counter-terrorism and intelligence officers will not be affected.
Today’s action is part of the Community and Public Sector Union’s plan to resolve enterprise bargaining. The CPSU said about 100,000 workers remained without new enterprise agreements.
CPSU national secretary Nadine Flood warned the strike was “a taste of what’s to come if Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull insists on maintaining this harsh and unreasonable attack” on workers.
“This dispute is about to pass the three-year mark, yet Prime Minister Turnbull won’t talk or do anything to resolve the situation,” Ms Flood said in a statement.
“No other major employer would allow such a crazy situation to drag on for this long. It’s immensely unfair to these workers, who are ordinary mums and dads who deserve a fair deal.
“There’s more than 100,000 people in the same boat, trying to support their families while going without a pay rise for three years and struggling to hold onto basic workplace rights and conditions, particularly family-friendly rights that are so crucial in a modern workplace.”
Ms Flood said the union had reached out to Mr Turnbull to resolve the dispute but its attempts had been unsuccessful.
“He can avert future strike action, including the prospect of broader industrial action across the Commonwealth public sector, by working with us,” she said.
“Workers across the Commonwealth public sector perform crucial roles, providing services to and for the public, and they deserve better than this. All they want is to hang onto their existing workplace rights and get a fair wage outcome that recognises their wages have been frozen for three years.”
Ms Flood and several union members will are expected to discuss the strike at Sydney International Airport this morning.
Australian Border Force’s Strategic Border Command Assistant commissioner Clive Murray told Fairfax security and safety would still be a priority during the strike action.
“During the protected industrial action the safety and security of the public and our staff remains our highest priority,” he said.
“If you are travelling overseas on Friday we encourage you to arrive at the airport early to allow for extra time for customs and immigration clearance processes.
“We have plans in place to minimise any impact on travellers and also the processing of cargo and mail.”