Strikes imminent – delays expected

An across-the-board strike by Australian Border Force (ABF) officers who are also members of the Community & Public Sector Union will likely delay air and sea freight.

Notice has been given by the Union to the Department of Immigration & Border Protection that a 24 hour strike across the country will take place in mid-August. CPSU members in the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, including quarantine and biosecurity at airports, will also strike for a one hour stop-work meeting on that day.

CPSU National Secretary Nadine Flood said: “This strike by workers in Immigration, Border Force and Agriculture reflects the frustration that continues to grow across the Commonwealth public sector. These people have been fighting for more than two years now as the Turnbull Government’s sought to strip their rights, conditions and take-home pay.”

“As with past strikes, the impact of this action is likely to vary from place to place, but may cause delays for international air passengers. Despite Border Force’s cynical tactics in the Fair Work Commission prior to the election, our members are 100% committed to national security and their action will not compromise the safety of passengers in any way.”

“Across the public service, around 75% of staff still don’t have new enterprise agreements; that’s more than 100,000 workers and their families who have now gone three years without a pay rise while struggling to hold on to basic workplace rights and conditions, particularly the ones that allow them to balance work with family commitments.”


All CPSU members in all States and Territories
A stoppage of work starting at 00:00 hours local time and ending at 24:00 hours local time on Friday 12 August 2016


All CPSU members in “Team 1” at the International Terminal of Perth Airport
A stoppage of work starting at 21:15 hours local time and ending at 24:00 hours local time on Thursday 11 August 2016

Forecasting the impact of the strike is difficult as industrial action is available to every member of the CPSU in every area where border force staff normally work. Any response by the Department would have to be taken into account which, we understand from the CPSU, has “resources” that it can deploy.

However, it seems likely that air- and sea-freight and cargo operations will be affected.

Some roles are exempt from the strike on safety and national security grounds e.g. employees on vessels at sea, employees with intelligence responsibilities, counter-terrorism units and so on.

Comment has been sought from the Australian Border Force which responded:

“The Department has received notice that some employees of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, including the Australian Border Force, who are members of the CPSU may take part in protected industrial action at international airports, sea ports, container examination facilities, client services, visa processing sections and international mail facilities.

“We will be working closely with stakeholders to minimise the impact on business, the travelling public and on cargo and mail operations. We also have appropriate contingencies in place for visa and citizenship services.

“The Department is working hard to deliver a revised enterprise agreement offer that addresses many of the key issues raised by employees.”

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