'Cynical' airport strikes condemned — think carefully about joining

By Stephen Easton

March 21, 2016

Australian Public Service commissioner John Lloyd has hit back at the Community and Public Sector Union’s plans for strikes to hit airports around the Easter period.

Observing that the action by Immigration and Border Protection staff “appears to be designed to cause maximum disruption to the public” over the break and the school holidays, Lloyd urges public servants to “think carefully” about joining in.

The Prime Minister today appeared unconcerned by the escalation in the extraordinarily protracted enterprise bargaining dispute, which began with today’s full-day strike by CPSU members in other federal agencies. Lloyd says the strategy is a “cynical move” while the unionists will surely be out in force trying to persuade frustrated travellers that the government is the villain.

The commissioner’s statement in full:

I strongly condemn calls from CPSU officials for members to take strike action this week. The timing of the action appears to be designed to cause maximum disruption to the public at Easter.

I call on employees who may be considering action to think carefully before participating. This is a significant decision and it is ordinary Australians who will be affected.

The decision by Immigration and Border Protection employees to strike on Thursday will disrupt the Easter travel plans for thousands. This action will cause delays and inconvenience on one of the busiest travel days of the year.

To strike on the day before a long weekend is a cynical move by the CPSU. It will simply cause difficulty and stress for the public.

The action comes on top of today’s 24-hour strike action in Department of Human Services and other agencies. It is unfortunate the union chose to inconvenience Centrelink and Medicare clients just before Easter. At the same time I am grateful that many public servants ignored the union’s tactics and remained at work.

The public servants involved should consider what the union’s campaign has delivered. The industrial action urged by the CPSU does nothing to advance their claims. Employees in agencies that have already successfully negotiated new agreements are approaching their second pay increase and continue to enjoy excellent conditions of employment. This is despite CPSU scaremongering about what the new agreements would bring.

The affected staff should also contemplate that by remaining steadfast in their opposition to the current offer, the timing of their following agreement slips even further into the future.

I call on the CPSU to return to the bargaining table and to cease industrial action which does nothing to facilitate the attainment of an agreement.

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