The Australian Airports Association (AAA) has called for the federal government and union representing the Australian Border Force (ABF) to hammer out a deal that would bring an end to the disruption for international travellers.
ABF staff were due to hold a 24-hour strike starting at midnight on Monday November 9, the latest in a series of work stoppages in recent times as the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) seeks a new enterprise bargaining agreement with the federal government.
The union said that staff in some roles were excluded from strike action to protect national security, a practice that has been in place for previous work stoppages.
AAA chief executive Caroline Wilkie said the proposed strike action on November 9 had the potential to cause significant delays.
“It is imperative that all of the parties get back to the bargaining process and put an end to the ongoing industrial action that is affecting the operation of our international aviation gateways,” Wilkie said in a statement.
“Our international airports are a vital part of our national economic infrastructure, supporting the movement of tens of thousands of passengers each day. Disruption or delay in the processing of arriving and departing passengers and freight is bad for the economy, and bad for Australia’s reputation as a global destination for leisure and business travel.”
Wilkie called on the federal government and the CPSU to “stop using the travelling public as the pawns in their workplace relations contest”, and focus on securing an outcome that would end the industrial action at Australia’s airports.
“While the industrial action being taken by the CPSU and the Department’s employer response may be allowed under the Fair Work Act, it is clearly not in the interests of the travelling public, airlines or airport operators who have to deal with the consequences of disruption to passenger and freight processing,” Wilkie said.
The ABF said in a statement on October 30 it had issued “no work, no pay” notices to staff, meaning those staff who walk off the job during the strike action will not be paid.
“Whilst the notices are addressed to all employees, they primarily affect a number of work areas where the work bans proposed have an unacceptable impact on work procedures and outcomes,” the ABF said.
“We have a responsibility to continue to operate during any periods of protected action, and will put contingencies in place to protect Australia’s border and manage the movement of people and goods across it.
“This will include employees supporting from other areas.”