Rolling strikes to resume at international airports

CPSU members working in Immigration and Border Force (DIBP) and Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) will resume industrial action on Wednesday 30 March, including short rolling strikes at international airports and elsewhere, with strict national security exemptions to remain in place as they have throughout the union’s long campaign to protect rights, conditions and take-home pay.

Passengers may experience some delays when departing or arriving on international flights as a result of the rolling strikes by Border Force officers and over-screening work bans applied by DAWR staff.

Planned strike action over the Easter long weekend period, including a 24-hour strike planned by DIBP and DAWR officers on Easter Thursday, was postponed by the union last week at the request of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and in response to the heightened anxiety of travellers at such a busy period in the wake of the Brussels attacks.

The CPSU agrees with the Prime Minister's acknowledgment last week that the industrial action would not compromise national security - "I can assure you the AFP has that in hand and the AFP's security levels at the airport, the commitment of personnel, their operational awareness and so forth is consistent," Mr Turnbull said last week.

CPSU National Secretary Nadine Flood said: “We agreed to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s request last Wednesday to postpone these strikes in good faith, and conscious of the understandable concern of travellers on one of the busiest days of the year at airports in the wake of the awful events in Brussels.”

“Our members in Immigration and Border Force and Agriculture and Water Resources will now resume their industrial action, knowing that their campaign never has and never will compromise Australia’s national security at airports or anywhere else. These workers remain angry and frustrated at the way they’ve been treated by this Government, with no-one listening to their concerns for their livelihoods and their families after two years of attacks on their rights and pay. They strongly believe that this is the only way of getting the fair deal they deserve.”

“The Prime Minister suggested we use ‘other means’ to resolve this dispute. Prime Minister Turnbull now has a responsibility to provide that means. Giving someone the job of actually talking to us would be a start, given the Government has refused to meet with us since October last year.”

“These hard working professionals are deeply disappointed that after six months as Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull has still not acted to abandon Tony Abbott's over-the-top attack on their workplace rights and pay and give us an avenue to find a sensible solution.  That’s why they are striking, that’s why this dispute needs to be resolved. The Government has an unworkable bargaining policy that holds these workers to ransom; sign up to give up your rights or go into the third year of a wage freeze. 

“We want this to be resolved, and the sooner the better. The alternative benefits no-one, from the families of thousands of Commonwealth workers who are still facing the loss of important family-friendly rights and have suffered a two-year wage freeze to the public who unfortunately is inconvenienced by strike action such as we saw at a range of Government agencies last week. The fact is that more than eight out of 10 people working in the public sector still don’t have new agreements after two years, so their growing frustration with the Government’s intractable policy is understandable.”