Nationwide Border Force airport customs & immigration strike on Nov 9

Nationwide Border Force airport customs & immigration strike on Nov 9

Travellers at Australia's international airports this coming Monday November 9 should arrive early and be prepared for extensive delays as Border Force, Immigration and Agriculture staff walk off the job for a full 24 hours.

The industrial action will include Border Force officers who usually check passports and arrival cards, and other employees carrying out passenger screening and customs inspections.

The day-long stoppage follows a series of rolling two-hour strikes throughout September at airports around Australia as part of an ongoing dispute over pay and working conditions.

Departmental managers will stand in for the striking workers but with November 9 seeing a nationwide 24 hour strike rather than the previous short and highly localised stop-work actions, the result is certain to mean long queues and chaos at international airports.

"The department is making arrangements to minimise the impact on travellers at our international airports as much as possible" said ABF Strategic Border Command officer Clive Murray. 

"Some delays are still expected and those planning on travelling overseas on Monday are encouraged to arrive early at the airport, and then to proceed directly to border clearance."

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David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.
 

51 comments

  • Dean

    deanr

    30 Oct, 2015 09:45 am

    Jesus christ, for all the time spent complaining that they're not paid enough, do these morons ever actually do any work???

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  • PunditShafton

    PunditShafton

    30 Oct, 2015 12:39 pm

    As much as people may hate this,  I support these folks and i am not a public servant.

    God damn airport management should make the experience more easy.

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  • ADAM ARMSTRONG

    adampies

    30 Oct, 2015 10:30 am

    Thanks for the heads up David. Arriving back in ADL that morning - what time does that strike begin/end?

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  • hutch

    hutch

    30 Oct, 2015 10:41 am

    I'd be speaking to my airline and changing flights.

    My reading on things is its the 9 November - ie midnight to midnight.

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  • Ho Really

    Ho Really

    10 Nov, 2015 12:09 pm

    I left ADL that morning no issues.

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  • NBShone

    NBShone

    30 Oct, 2015 10:52 am

    If there ar*****es dont like there job or there pay leave and get a better job. Thank god im going on sunday.

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  • obanpointer

    obanpointer

    30 Oct, 2015 11:00 am

    will this affect domestic traffic ( security screening?)

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  • hutch

    hutch

    30 Oct, 2015 12:26 pm

    The answer is...When did the border force do domestic airport security screening?

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  • obanpointer

    obanpointer

    30 Oct, 2015 05:40 pm

    and other employees carrying out passenger screening and customs inspections

    are the annoying, arrogant security staff at sydney domestic part of the border force? that was my question

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  • Dean

    deanr

    30 Oct, 2015 05:54 pm

    Why would the Border Force have anything to do with domestic airport security screening? You don't cross the border when flying from Sydney to Melbourne, so no, this is international only.

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  • hutch

    hutch

    1 Nov, 2015 05:40 pm

    If you see them that often that they are 'arrogant and annoying', then you should probably know the answer.

    Passenger screening = is essentially when they check passports outbounds, plus I assume some other officers who do observational profiling of passengers

    Customs inspections = customs checking of luggage. Customs is something done when crossing borders.

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  • gumshoe

    gumshoe

    30 Oct, 2015 11:00 am

    They puuled this one in PER last month as 3 big aircraft arrived from abroad, didn't give a stuff about the oldies, those on crutches was a line of 500 or more, making the public pay for their demands, unconscionable behaviour.

    Took about an hour to get through, guy in front of us sure gave the customs boss a gob full as he came out of his cubby hole, told to move on, this guy said he's on public ground and he'll say what he wants and this customs guy will listen.

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  • TheRealBabushka

    TheRealBabushka

    30 Oct, 2015 11:19 am

    Does anyone know what they want?

    What exactly is wrong with the current pay and working conditions?

     

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  • TheRealBabushka

    TheRealBabushka

    30 Oct, 2015 11:27 am

    P.S.: I'm sooo glad I'm not unionised. I'd be so embarrass to be a part of an organisation pulling these sort of stunts. While legal, I'd hate to be seen to be unprofessional.

    Of course I'm skilled and mobile; able to move to different employers if I am not happy with current conditions. Quite a different matter I suppose when I am a serf of the state with no qualification and skills and have no other options in life. That's the problem isn't it? They're in bonded servitude and have no option to leave? *sarcasm*

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  • hutch

    hutch

    30 Oct, 2015 12:34 pm

    Well, in fairness... whilst I think its stupid to get the public offside by dragging them into your workplace dispute, part of the problem is that when the Gov created the border force they dragged customs officers over and some of them lost pay. If I lost pay, but was doing the same job, I too would also be unhappy.

    Also, lots of employees in the world (firefighters, ambos, nurses) aren't exactly in mobile industries and are highly unionised. I appreicate their work and don't believe I am better than them because they happen to be employed by the Gov.

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  • treehugger

    treehugger

    30 Oct, 2015 01:59 pm

    Cant believe the short sightedness of so many of these comments! These people have been working harder and harder for years, as the government cuts staffing levels down to the bone. Delays in some airports are routinely reaching over 3 hours, even when they work their hardest.

    Now the Government wants to strip all their workplace conditions out of their Enterprise Agreements, as well as slashing their pay - staff are looking at losing $8000 a year.

    How many of you would be happy to take an $8000 a year paycut, in return for working harder, with less job sevcurity?

    No member give thanks

  • gumshoe

    gumshoe

    30 Oct, 2015 03:12 pm

    Making the public pay a price with long delays is wrong and stupid, seeing the old in that long queue made me real sad. 

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  • Doubleplatinum

    Doubleplatinum
    Banned

    30 Oct, 2015 07:09 pm

    Working harder and harder? I think it must be some time since you have visited an airport! These guys are overpaid as is.

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  • TheRealBabushka

    TheRealBabushka

    31 Oct, 2015 10:49 am

    The key here is that no one is forcing them. Leave if they are not happy with wages and conditions. The market will correct itself. Unless you're acknowledging a structural issues with skills and productivity that limits people's choice to move within the evonomy. In which case, let's fix that i.e. the root cause! Skill up the workforce so that they can transition to different jobs as the economy changes to reflect global requirements. It's perverse to think people should just stick around the one job for life.

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  • hutch

    hutch

    1 Nov, 2015 01:25 pm

    @TRB - of course no one is forcing them. But the market does not always correct itself... workplace safety is one of those areas. Additionally, there would be many more instances of employers exploiting workers if we let the market take care of things. 

    Additionally, you are making comments 'like jobs for life' etc. On what basis are we making the assumption? Nobody wins if agencies have high turn over... it costs organisations to recruit and train, without factoring in lost organisational knowledge and productivity if staff are unhappy. Some turn over is a good thing, but not the mass scale you are suggesting should occur.

    Your example of upskilling is fine when talking about preparing people for technological changes... but it is not neccesarily fair for people's pay to be cut because the Gov gives you a new uniform.

     

    As stated, I dont think striking assists their cause. But the Gov does not have clean hands. 

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  • CityRail

    CityRail

    30 Oct, 2015 12:18 pm

    Thanks for the update. May I ask has the automated electronic smart gates for departures now operational and running?

    They should immediately make them work so at least Australian and NZ passengers can use these auto gates to leave the country and get on to the plane on time.

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  • Dave

    Grannular

    30 Oct, 2015 12:48 pm

    Wouldn't surprise me if the same muppets that are striking and causing problems, create more problems by disabling the Smart Gates

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  • JeCCo87

    JeCCo87

    30 Oct, 2015 03:08 pm

    The smart gates were disabled during the prior rolling strikes in September......

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  • Alan Su

    alansu

    30 Oct, 2015 03:47 pm

    I did find during the September one though that the smart gate at SYD were still in use for arrivals, except you had to walk through a long tunnel into a separate arrivals area that remained open. Let's hope this time it's the same..

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  • michael83

    michael83

    30 Oct, 2015 01:05 pm

    Wow, talk about timing.. the day i'm flying out to the  US.. 

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  • Mark Bringans

    Briggo

    30 Oct, 2015 01:14 pm

    Uniosn are evil

    Time to replace these donkes with smart gates in & out

    After the donkeys have been let go they should be refused the dole since they intefered with the work place and the customers

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  • Adam

    ads086

    30 Oct, 2015 04:13 pm

    I'm assuming this is lawful protected industrial action, which means a court has determined that the government isn't appropriately negotiating with the union and stopping work is amongst their only methods to bring the government back to the table. Two hour strikes are a mild inconvenience really, since you will eventually get let through. Close down the border for a day (or the best part of)? Someone's gonna notice. If it escalates further I suspect you'll see longer stop work action, leading to a build up of passengers in arrivals areas to the point of making gates unusable, essentially shutting airports down, and this is without considering the outgoing passengers.

    In terms of old people in the queue, would you suggest they should be skipped to the front? Sure. Then where do you draw the line? Who gets to define old? If its 65 and over, are you gonna say no to a 64 year old? Where does it stop then?

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  • lionelhutz

    lionelhutz

    30 Oct, 2015 04:07 pm

    I assume there won't be any knock on effect? Travelling on the afternoon of the 10th.

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  • Doubleplatinum

    Doubleplatinum
    Banned

    30 Oct, 2015 07:10 pm

    Unions, killing out country one unskilled $90,000 factory worker at a time!!

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  • Bizflyer

    Bizflyer

    30 Oct, 2015 09:55 pm

    Oh good might try and change my conecting flight! 

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  • Colin Steven

    colin5353

    31 Oct, 2015 10:13 am

    Love it, BForce and Public Transport Workers in Melbourne striking for better pay and conditions - last time I looked driving a tram didnt seem that hard (but hey I'm happy to be corrected), and given that most Australian passport holders can use the Egate (oh not me tho) just how hard is your job? - this year I got a 3% payrise, I work a 24/7 roster, I make sure people a breathing and not dying - but thats OK, I can get the roster from hell - have worked many weekends, public holidays, finished at 10.30pm, to be back at work at 06.30am - but thats ok.  You still in your air conditioned cubical and press a few buttons on a keyboard, or search someones luggage - yep you go on strike, cos I know I'd love to, but people might die! I'm happy to swpa any day. On a side note - this week I was told if I want to work in a different area in the hospital I work at, I'll need to do another post grad qualification - great another HECS debt for no extra $

     

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  • hutch

    hutch

    1 Nov, 2015 01:28 pm

    Perhaps you should understand what they are striking about before commenting.

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  • gumshoe

    gumshoe

    3 Nov, 2015 09:35 am

    None of us flyers care what they wany want, its rather simple they are making the public pay for their demands, awful behavior. 

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  • hutch

    hutch

    3 Nov, 2015 06:49 pm

    Sorry, I must have missed the memo where you were elected speaker for all flyers. I'm flying out of Sydney this Friday and returning next Saturday. I am lucky not to be affected by this and would be very cranky and annoyed if I was caught up in this.

    But I do want to know what is going on. Just like, I want to know why nurses strike or firies etc etc. At least then, I can make up my own mind rather than just listen to union or government dribble. As I have stated, I think striking is stupid... it would benefit them significantly more not to get the public offside. But there are two sides to every dispute and the Gov could also stop this if they really wanted to.

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  • Humba

    Humba

    2 Nov, 2015 04:05 pm

    I travel overseas alot. Usually when coming back through customs there are more customs officers standing around behind the barriers doing nothing than are actually processing incoming travellers. They certainly don't give you the impression that they work too hard at all. They should try getting a job out in the real work and see what it is like.

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  • hutch

    hutch

    3 Nov, 2015 06:51 pm

    Ah would that possible be because not all customs officers are meant to screen passengers? Are there not customs officers designed to risk assess passengers behaviour?

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  • flyOFTEN

    flyOFTEN

    6 Nov, 2015 10:26 am

    how can these scum bags strike ? Aren't they an essential service ?

    With the recession hitting, these guys should get a pay cut.

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  • Doubleplatinum

    Doubleplatinum
    Banned

    8 Nov, 2015 04:09 pm

    Seeing just how much more intelligent and the better job that overseas border agencies staff do this makes this even more of a joke

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  • Dmitry Abramov

    dimi

    9 Nov, 2015 08:20 am

    Just landed in Sydney airport. Smoothest experience of getting through customs and immigration ever.

    I certainly can't comment on the whole national security thing, but passenger arrivals experience has definitely been improved dramatically with this strike.

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  • jsg

    jsg

    9 Nov, 2015 02:34 pm

    Would you go on strike if you were going to get an $8,000 pay cut. That's what these guys are facing.

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  • Dean

    deanr

    9 Nov, 2015 03:08 pm

    $8,000 is a figure that is often quoted in the media and by the unions, although as far as I've seen nobody has actually shared what the pay would be cut from and what it would be after that cut. Methinks they're likely paid very well for what they do and the subsequent offer was actually quite reasonable all things considered, but I imagine there's a fear that if they go on record in saying what the government has actually offered them, they'll look greedy. Instead, they stick with the attention-getting tagline "$8,000 pay cut" to avoid sharing the actual numbers...

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  • Doubleplatinum

    Doubleplatinum
    Banned

    9 Nov, 2015 05:04 pm

    You need to concentrate more when you read. The only cuts are proposed to 'allowances' some of which are a joke and offered in hardly any other industries, why taxpayers have to pay these guys to go to the gym is beyond me. Typical unions. As Dean has said and I can confirm, these guys get paid very well not even considering the standard of the job they perform.

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  • jsg

    jsg

    9 Nov, 2015 06:10 pm

    You have a very low opinion of this country's border staff, based on nothing but your own bias. If they are doing such a poor job as you suggest, show me the evidence

    As for pay, they are being offered one of the worst deals in the APS at 1% per year.. So that's an effective pay cut before you even talk allowances.

    As for these guys getting paid pretty well, the starting salary is $42K. Hardly the gravy train you make them out to be on

    Enjoy your eight hour working day by the way. Proudly brought to you by the union movement.

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  • Dean

    deanr

    9 Nov, 2015 07:14 pm

    $42k may well be the starting salary for trainees, but after six months the base salary rises to ~$52k, does it not? That's also not including all of the other allowances, including being paid to exercise which is frankly ridiculous.

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  • D. Velev

    webmentors

    13 Nov, 2015 06:34 pm

    union movement - the most useless communist gangs ever. Free labour market is the best - do or don't! Will find somebody else :)

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  • maabbot

    maabbot

    10 Nov, 2015 12:36 am

    Just replace them with machines...

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  • Ho Really

    Ho Really

    10 Nov, 2015 12:06 pm

    Not far off...

    No member give thanks

  • On The Fly

    On The Fly

    11 Nov, 2015 11:47 pm

    This is old news now, but having gone through Sydney immigration and customs in the smoothest experience ever on Monday (9 Nov), I kinda wish they strike more often!

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  • D. Velev

    webmentors

    13 Nov, 2015 06:23 pm

    You take the job and work or you don't :) and find yourseltf something else. Easy and simple. Unions hype the cost of the worker and we will see more and more workers sakd becouse companies can't afford expensive workers that do not really work :)

    E.g. How hard is it?

    "Hi, what your name?"

    "And you are going where?"

    "Your passwort please"

    "Next...."

    FNB :)

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  • D. Velev

    webmentors

    13 Nov, 2015 06:37 pm

    ha ha sory few spellings :)

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  • sgb

    sgb

    3 Dec, 2015 11:21 am

    On that day 9th November I was flying from Melbourne to Auckland Business class Emirates, I think the flying public were very well aware of the Borderforce issues and strike, after a speedy check in, I went to go through the opaque class doors at International to see two long snaking queues at 5.15am and those doors not opening, yup, locked as it turns out. I got my partner to go back to Business Class Emirates check in and asked what was the hold up, we were told the doors would be opened at 5.30am. I felt we could have been told that by the Business Class check in person in the first place, sure to the fact they opened at exactly 5.30 and those with Fast Track cards were shown the fast route whilst there was a mele of non fast trackers trying to bob under or jump over the barriers to cheat their way to the front of the fastly developing queue. Once past that point it was straight up to the lounge, and not even a thought about the out of control queue back downstairs. I really thought that Fast Tracking was put to the test on a very difficult day, and want to thank Emirates for that product/service, and Borderforce for still honouring Fast Tracking.

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21 May, 2019 01:26 pm

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