CPSU accused of using public as ‘pawns’

by John Maguire03 Nov 2015
Major delays are looking likely next month, as Australian Border Force (ABF) staff will take part in another strike at eight of Australia’s international airports.

The strike comes as a continuation of the disagreements over pay and conditions between ABF workers and the federal government.

Full-day action will take place on Monday, November 9.

Action by union members at the Immigration Department could include the slowing down of passport and arrival card checks at air and sea ports, as well as delayed baggage and cargo.

This latest move follows CPSU strikes at airports around Australia in September

Immigration Department managers are reportedly expected to be deployed in order to plug the staffing gaps and minimise the impact on the public.

The airports expected to be affected by the latest action are Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth, Darwin, Cairns and Gold Coast.

Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) secretary Nadine Flood warned that the impending strike would be “significant”.

“We have made the decision to restart significant industrial action, given that discussions with Government have not produced any meaningful move on cuts to these workers' rights, conditions and take-home pay,” she said in a statement.

“Last month 91% of border protection staff — that's more than 10,000 people — voted no to an unfair agreement that cut the take-home pay of many staff by $8,000 a year or more,” she said.

Michaelia Cash, the Public Service Minister, accused the union of exploiting members of the public for its own gain.

“The travelling public, whether they're in Australia or they're people coming to Australia as a tourism destination, are quite frankly being used as pawns by the CPSU in what is nothing more and nothing less than an ideological argument,” she said.

“I’m disappointed the CPSU has opted for industrial action rather than sitting down with their individual departments.

“To date participation in industrial action has not been high despite the assertions of the CPSU.”

Last week, Cash increased the cap on government wage rise offers from 1.5% to 2%.

The unsettled dispute over pay and conditions between the CPSU and the government has led to there being more than 150,000 public servants on expired enterprise bargaining deals.

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