CANBERRA, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) — International travelers heading out of Australia have been urged to get to airports and cruise ship ports early as two weeks of industrial action by Immigration and Border Force officers began on Monday.
Members of the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) had previously said a strike would not occur if the government agreed to a 12.5 percent pay rise, but the union's national secretary Nadine Flood said workers were fed-up with the government's reluctance to discuss the pay rise.
She said Immigration and Border Force workers would walk off the job in random, 30-minute blocks at airports, cruise ports and cargo facilities around the country.
"These workers are trying to get government to take this seriously and give us someone to sit down with and resolve this longstanding mess," Flood told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).
"Under Prime Minister Turnbull they haven't talked to us in a year. It's really got beyond a joke."
Border Force released a statement on Monday warning passengers to get to airports early, but said there were arrangements in place in case of emergency.
"We have contingency arrangements in place to minimize the impact of stoppages on business operations," the statement said.
Government senator Eric Abetz described the CPSU's demands as "unrealistic" and said a 12.5 percent pay rise would result in the loss of more than 10,000 public sector jobs.
Border Force officers were supposed to strike earlier this year, but decided to postpone the industrial action due to the heightened fears following the Brussels terror attack.