Travel misery halted as Australian immigration staff strike suspended

by Ray Clancy on October 3, 2016

in Australia Travel

Strike action by immigration staff in Australia that was due to continue for weeks has been halted, leading to a suspension of delays for travellers.

An application from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) to the Fair Work Commission for the rolling strike action to be suspended has been granted.

AirportPeople travelling to Australia by air and sea had faced the prospect of delays, but there will now be a normal immigration service with a hearing due to take place on Wednesday.

Members of the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) were due to be taking action until 16 October in a long running dispute over pay and conditions.

The suspension order will remain in effect while the Fair Work Commission considers the matter.

‘The decision to seek assistance from the Fair Work Commission to secure a suspension of Protected Industrial Action was taken today after much deliberation. This decision was not taken lightly,’ said a spokesman for the DIBP.

He explained that passengers departing on international flights can arrive at the time specified by their airline and those arriving from abroad will not face delays due to strike action, adding that it is now business as usual.

There is hope that the outcome of the hearing could lead to arbitration in the long running dispute with CPSU national secretary Nadine Flood pointing out that staff have received a lot of public support.

‘Immigration and Border Protection officers’ spirits have been buoyed by the support they’ve got this week, including passengers saying ‘good on you’,’you’re doing an important job’ and ‘we can’t believe this is still going on,’ she said.

‘Fair wages and conditions for the people who protect our borders and keep us all safe from threats such as terrorism, organised crime, biohazards, drugs and weapons should not be too much to ask,’ she added.

She explained that in March this year, over 80% of Border Force officers voted to reject an offer which would have stripped key rights and conditions, including cutting take home pay and making work less family friendly.

‘All these workers want is to hang onto their existing pay and conditions. These are complex, difficult, 24/7 jobs and staff deserve better than the cuts to allowances and rights being dished up by the Government and the Department,’ said Flood.

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