Last updated: 12:57pm
International travellers are being warned to expect delays caused by strike action at the country’s eight international airports from Monday.
Department of Immigration and Border Protection employees are planning 10 days of disruptions to protest pay and working conditions.
Staff processing departing and arriving travellers on international flights are prepared to stop work for two hours twice a day during morning and afternoon peaks in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Darwin, Coolangatta and Cairns.
The strikes started at 4am in Cairns and are scheduled for Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Darwin and the Gold Coast.
Border staff are furious over a pay proposal that effectively cuts current wages and leaves some workers $8000 a year worse off, the Community and Public Sector Union says.
But the union says the government is planning to fly hundreds of managers from interstate to act as “strike breakers” at airports.
“They’re turning heavy-handed tactics on their own workforce, when sitting down and resolving this 18-month dispute would be a better option,” CPSU secretary Nadine Flood said on Sunday.
“It’s an extraordinary operation at taxpayers’ expense.”
Border staff are voting on a proposed enterprise agreement, with the ballot closing on Monday.
It is unclear exactly how the recently merged Department of Immigration and Border Protection will fill the gaps.
“Arrangements are in place to protect Australia’s borders and minimise the impact on our operations,” the Australian Border Force posted on its Facebook page.
“But if you are going overseas, we advise you to arrive at the airport early.”
AIRPORT STOPPAGES ON MONDAY
* Sydney (7am-9am and 7pm-9pm)
* Melbourne Tullamarine (5am-7am and 9pm-11pm)
* Brisbane (7am-9am and 7pm-9pm)
* Gold Coast (6.40am-8.40am and 7pm-9pm)
* Cairns (4am-6am and 6pm-8pm)
* Adelaide (6.30am-8.30am and 8pm-10pm)
* Perth (5.30am-7.30am and 5pm-7pm)
* Darwin (4.30am-6.30am and 5pm-7pm)