More airport strikes planned



International travellers could face a chaotic end to their holiday as customs and immigration officers at Australian airports walk off the job for two hours next week.

The strike over proposed workplace bargaining policies next Wednesday will be the second in a week after one forced people to queue for up to two hours in Melbourne on Thursday.

The Community and Public Sector Union [CPSU] has warned workers will strike from 9am, affecting the international airports in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Cairns, Adelaide, Perth and Darwin.

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No flights were delayed but a returning Melbourne woman said it was “bedlam” inside as the four-hour strike impacted hundreds of international passengers trying to get bags and go through customs.

CPSU National Secretary Nadine Flood said workers regretted the impact on passengers but wanted to get their message across to the federal government.

A plane prepares to land in Sydney. Photo: AAP

A plane prepares to land in Sydney. Photo: AAP

“Customs and Immigration officers are being hit particularly hard by the Abbott government’s bargaining policy, which forces their agency to cut many of the allowances they rely on to make up their pay packet,” Ms Flood says in a statement.

The union says thousands of officers face losing up to $8000 a year, while some specialised officers face even larger pay cuts.

Officers are currently eligible for allowances for working at sea, using firearms, meeting high fitness standards, long working hours, unusual shifts and dangerous work.

“These men and women literally put their lives on the line to keep Australia safe,” Ms Flood said.

“They have tough and sometimes dangerous jobs which deserve our thanks and respect, yet the Abbott government is pushing a policy that will dramatically cut their take home pay.”

The union warns people to also expect disruptions at seaports and other customs and immigration centres as workers seek to make their point on the first day of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection merger.

It follows a series of rolling four-hour work stoppages by public service workers in agencies including Centrelink, Medicare, defence and the tax office.

A revised pay offer is waiting for a final tick of approval from the government and will be presented to the union next month, a Department of Human Services spokeswoman told AAP.


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