Travellers and visa holders face days of delays as immigration and airline workers strike

by Ray Clancy on October 27, 2011

in Australia Immigration, Australia Travel

Industrial action taken by members of CPS Union and further strikes from Qantas workers

Holders of working holiday visas and other Australian visas face disruptions due to industrial action being taken by immigration officials.

Workers in Australian immigration, customs and border protection jobs are taking industrial action today (Thursday 27 October) potentially leading to travel delays and disruptions.

Members of the Community and Public Sector Union (CPS) are on strike over a pay dispute and the action is likely to affect international travellers, tourists and visa holders.

‘Employees will stop work for up to 24 hours at international airports in Sydney, Perth and Melbourne,’ said Acting Deputy chief executive officer for Customs and Border Protection Jan Dorrington.

‘This will have an impact on our operations and could mean delays at international airports for people travelling to or from Australia and there may also be additional wait times for people arriving or departing on cruise ships from the Overseas Passenger Terminal, Circular Quay, in Sydney,’ she explained.

‘These delays, while regrettable, are necessary to ensure that the security of our borders is maintained,’ she added.

People intending to travel to or from Australia are advised to proceed to customs and immigration processing as early as possible before their flight or cruise departures.

The strike action is in response to a dispute between the CPSU and customs and border protection authorities over a new enterprise agreement.

‘Negotiations between Customs and Border Protection and bargaining representatives for a new enterprise agreement are continuing. Customs and Border Protection continues to negotiate in good faith to reach an agreement that is within our budget and the Australian Government Employment Bargaining Framework,’ said Dorrington.

People arriving in Australia also face further delays tomorrow (Friday 28 October) as workers for airline Qantas take industrial action. The Australian flag carrier has advised the public that up to 10,100 passengers will be affected by the 66 flights that will be delayed by up to 70 minutes as members of the Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) walk off the job for one hour at various times nationwide.

Strikes called for today and yesterday were called off but tomorrow’s action is scheduled to go ahead.

Qantas Group executive operations Lyell Strambi rejected claims that Qantas is planning to move jobs offshore and said that its workers are the highest paid in the aviation industry.

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