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International travellers warned: get to the airport early

If you’re catching an international flight today, get to the airport with plenty of time to spare, with long delays expected thanks to industrial action by Border Force workers.

Department of Immigration and Border Protection staff will strike from midnight on Friday for 24 hours as an enterprise bargaining dispute drags on.

Counter terrorism and security staff are exempt from the industrial action.


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The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) says a one hour stopwork meeting will also be held by quarantine and biosecurity staff.

CPSU National Secretary Nadine Flood said the action reflects the frustration over the long running negotiations.

“These people have been fighting for more than two years now as the Turnbull Government’s sought to strip their rights, conditions and take-home pay,” Ms Flood said in a statement.

“More than 100,000 workers and their families have now gone three years without a pay rise while struggling to hold on to basic workplace rights and conditions, particularly the ones that allow them to balance work with family commitments.

The CPSU has written to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull seeking an urgent meeting.

Border Force Assistant Commissioner Clive Murray said security and safety remains their highest priority.

“If you are travelling overseas on Friday we encourage you to arrive at the airport early to allow for extra time for customs and immigration clearance processes,” he said.

“We have plans in place to minimise any impact on travellers and also the processing of cargo and mail.”

The CPSU said the action would impact airports to different degrees.

“The impact of this action … is likely to vary from place to place,” Ms Flood said.

“Despite Border Force’s cynical tactics in the Fair Work Commission prior to the election, our members are 100 per cent committed to national security and their action will not compromise the safety of passengers in any way.

“Across the public service, around 75 per cent of staff still don’t have new enterprise agreements; that’s more than 100,000 workers and their families who have now gone three years without a pay rise while struggling to hold on to basic workplace rights and conditions, particularly the ones that allow them to balance work with family commitments.”

Smart Gate technology will still be operating in all international airports however arriving passengers are also likely to experience delays during the strike.

Border Force will post updates on social media and their website.