Delays expected as airport staff strike

by Chloe Taylor21 Sep 2015
Australia’s international airports could be hit by delays today as employees of the Australian Border Force (ABF) begin a ten day strike.

Staff who process passengers on international flights will reportedly be stopping work for two hours during the morning and afternoon peak periods until September 30 in a bid to force employers to renegotiate pay and conditions.

According to reports, the government was intending to fly large management teams around the country to counteract the effects of the strike, which could also include delays to the delivery of international cargo and mail.

Nadine Flood, secretary of the Community and Public Sector Union, said that the industrial action was a stand against salary cuts of up to $8,000 a year.

“These workers are angry, they're under pressure, they face major cuts to their take-home pay and workplace rights and government simply hasn't listened,” she told The Herald.

“This million-dollar band-aid operation means the impact of strike action on the travelling public will be unpredictable and may vary from place to place and day to day.”
She claimed that the ABF management had resorted to extreme lengths to avoid negotiations.

“Rather than deal sensibly with the core issue, Border Force is flying large teams of managers all over the country to act as strike breakers at airports at vast expense,” she told The Herald.

Flood added that the strike would continue until the $8,000 cuts were off the table, and called on the new prime minister to resolve the issue.

“We are calling on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to make resolving this dispute a public service priority, with a Minister who's prepared to talk and hear workers' legitimate concerns,” she said.

Stephen Allen, acting deputy commissioner of operations at the ABF, told The Sydney Morning Herald that travellers should not worry too much about the strike action, and simply allow extra time for processing.

“We recommend that passengers booked on international flights departing next week arrive early in accordance with your airline's guidelines,” he said.

“After check-in, we suggest passengers promptly proceed straight to immigration and customs clearance.

“We are continuing to work closely with our partner agencies to minimise impacts on operations. The health, safety and security of the public and our staff continue to be our priority.”

Workers from other agencies, including Human Services, the Tax Office, Defence, the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Environment and Employment are also planning to strike on Thursday.

The times of today’s planned action are:

Sydney: 7am – 9am and 7pm – 9pm
Melbourne Tullamarine: 5am – 7am and 9pm – 11pm
Brisbane: 7am – 9am and 7pm – 9pm
Perth: 5:30am – 7:30am and 5pm – 7pm
Adelaide: 6:30am – 8:30am and 8pm – 10pm
Darwin: 4:30am – 6:30am and 5pm – 7pm
Coolangatta (Gold Coast): 6:40am – 8:40am and 7pm – 9pm
Cairns: 4am – 6am and 6pm – 8pm
(Source: The Sydney Morning Herald)

COMMENTS

  • by Johnathings 21/09/2015 11:45:52 AM

    It would be interesting to see what they think they would do if they were fired. People are only paid what they are worth. If I can get someone for cheaper to do your job then I will go to them. And since most airport workers are unskilled I imagine they don't have a lot of bargaining power.

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