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Brisbane and Canberra airport security to strike at Christmas

written by Adam Thorn | December 12, 2022

Security officers based at Canberra Airport will strike on Friday, while those working at Brisbane and the Gold Coast will stop working on Monday, 19 December.

The dispute is between security firm ISS and the United Workers Union, rather than the airports, but will cause major disruption given the union members are necessary to process passengers travelling through terminals.

Brisbane Airport said it was concerned “hard-working Australians” would end up as “collateral damage” during the first post-pandemic Christmas period in years.

“The date of the industrial action is in the middle of the holiday rush, and the time chosen covers the peak period of the day when we are at our busiest,” a spokesperson said.


“Tens of thousands of families, and everyday hardworking Australians will have their travel plans potentially thrown into chaos if this industrial action takes place.

“We’d have to question whether a full workforce stoppage at several of Australia’s key airports at peak holiday time is proportionate action for a wage negotiation, notwithstanding the merits or otherwise of the union’s claim.

“I am concerned for those families who will not be able to afford or have the time to make last-minute changes to their travel plans.

“We hope that the union and ISS security can reach a fair and reasonable outcome in a time that allows Australians to have the Christmas holiday they deserve, and to reconnect with their family and friends.

“Brisbane Airport Corporation would like to acknowledge the important role ISS security officers play in maintaining safety at our airport, and thanks them for the commitment they display to travellers and visitors to the terminals.”

It comes weeks after Qantas cabin crew voted almost unanimously in favour of strike action after being asked to work longer shifts and have shorter rest times.

The FAAA’s action could include strikes for up to 24 hours, overtime bans, and a “withdrawal from boarding responsibilities”, which could include staff remaining on the aircraft as passengers board the plane.

The news has the potential to cause huge disruption to the Flying Kangaroo’s plan to increase its domestic capacity to take advantage of surging demand. It could also mean potential delays and cancellations for passengers.

However, a number of other proposed strikes have been halted. Last week, Airport firefighters cancelled industrial action planned for Friday after agreeing to a 4.9 per cent pay rise.

Dnata catering staff and Menzies ground handlers also called off a vote on industrial action after securing pay rises and job security protections in September.

Finally, Dnata ground handlers cancelled a planned 24-hour strike after securing a 12.6 per cent pay rise.

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