Passengers can expect delays at Australia’s international airports on Tuesday as customs and quarantine workers stop work.
Thousands of staff at airports, ports and mail handling facilities are expected stop work for between one and two hours to attend meetings across the country.
International passengers at Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Cairns, Perth and Adelaide airports will be impacted.
The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) has asked the federal government for a pay increase for customs, border protection and quarantine workers of four per cent a year.
The federal government has capped any pay rise at nine per cent over three years.
The CPSU argues the pay offer would actually leave workers worse off, given inflation was running at 3.6 per cent.
CPSU national secretary Nadine Flood said there would be some disruption to passengers at airports but customs and quarantine management should have contingency plans in place.
“This industrial action is a last resort for customs and quarantine staff but we’ve been driven to this by the federal government offering staff a pay deal that doesn’t keep up with the rising cost of living,” she told AAP.
“Customs management have chosen to walk away with negotiations with the union.”
There may also be delays with international mail, Ms Flood said.
She said further industrial action may be necessary if customs and quarantine management do not return to the bargaining table.
Customs and Border Protection did not wish to comment on Sunday.
In a press release issued last week, the organisation said it had contingency arrangements in place to protect the nation’s borders and minimise impact on business operations.
“Our arrangements will minimise impact on our cargo and mail operations but we anticipate that there will be delays to the processing of international travellers at airports.
“Customs and Border Protection has negotiated in good faith with all bargaining representatives to propose an agreement that is affordable within its budget and within the parameters of the Australian government bargaining framework.”