Thousands of Immigration and Border Force workers have walked off the job at international airports and other sites, striking as part of their three-year fight to protect their rights, conditions and take-home pay.
The industrial action began at midnight and will continue for 24 hours at airports, ports and other facilities. CPSU members in the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, including quarantine and biosecurity officers at airports, will also strike during a one-hour stop-work meeting.
The CPSU has agreed to more than 50 exemptions during the strike action, covering areas such as counter-terrorism and intelligence, as part of members’ total commitment to national security and safety.
CPSU National Secretary Nadine Flood said:
“This 24-hour strike by Immigration and Border Force officers is just one part of our broader plan to resolve this protracted and unfair dispute. This is a taste of what’s to come if Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull insists on maintaining this harsh and unreasonable attack.”
“This dispute is about to pass the three-year mark, yet Prime Minister Turnbull won’t talk or do anything to resolve the situation. 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 is a modern workplace.”
“We’ve reached out to Prime Minister Turnbull repeatedly, including writing to him again recently, but he has continued to sit on his hands doing absolutely nothing to fix this mess. He can avert future strike action, including the prospect of broader industrial action across the Commonwealth public sector, by working with us.”
“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.”
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection said in a statement:
“We have contingency arrangements in place to minimise the impact of stoppages on business operations. The health, safety and security of the public and our staff continues to be our priority during protected industrial action”.
“While we are working closely with stakeholders to minimise the impact on the travelling public and on cargo and mail operations, and are ensuring appropriate measures are in place for visa and citizenship services, we strongly encourage passengers booked on international flights get to the airport early”.