Australian Border Force public servant strike threatens UK 'I'm a celebrity' show

Industrial action by Australian public servants is now getting global coverage because it might slow down celebrities from the United Kingdom.

A 24-hour walk out by Border Force staff on Monday expected to cause "huge disruption" at airports could throw the UK show I'm a Celebrity into "chaos", according to the British press. 

The British reality television game show has celebrities live together in a harsh environment with no luxuries, competing to be crowned king or queen of the jungle.

The UK Sun reported hours-long delays would create problems for the show's producers who will need to navigate celebrities through airports to avoid them catching sight of future camp mates.

The stars started arriving up to five days before the show began filming and were sent to separate hotels to avoid seeing each other and get used to the time zone, the Sun reported, and a number were due to hit Australia on the day of the 24-hour strike.


Industrial action at airports has been the most publicity-friendly form of action for the Community and Public Sector Union during its negotiations over enterprise agreements for a huge number of bureaucrats. 

Deals expired for more than 100 agreements affecting more than 100,000 public servants more than a year ago. 

On Thursday more Border Force workers continued taking industrial action in ports, mail centres and other freight operations for a second day. 

The action, which began on Wednesday, was limited to partial work bans, with officers continuing to perform the majority of their regular duties, the union said.

Immigration management advised that any staff who did not perform 100 per cent of their work would be docked a full shift's pay.

"Members were quick to advise the CPSU they would not be intimidated by the threat of losing pay, with hundreds proceeding with their action yesterday and as a result being stood down without pay at ports, air cargo and international mail centres," a statement from CPSU said.

"Despite the significant financial hit, many members have asked the CPSU to ensure they are legally protected to continue their action on Thursday and Friday.

"Over various shifts and days, up to 500 officers face being stood down without pay."

An Immigration department spokesperson said during the bans the CPSU was asking members to come to work and take active steps to slow down the movement and release of goods by selecting, holding and referring as much cargo as they could for unnecessary intervention and delays.

"No employees will be sent home but the department is not prepared to pay employees for partial performance of duties," the spokesperson said.

"The bans could also lead to a breach of Australia's robust border security arrangements.

"The bans notified by the CPSU encourage a concerted effort by CPSU members to impede the movement of low risk goods and to delay the release of legitimate cleared goods to the community. 

"The department does not see these actions as minor limited work bans when it goes to the heart of the department's obligation to keep the flow of trade moving while addressing community risk." 

CPSU national secretary Nadine Flood said the "ill-conceived decision by Immigration and Border Force management to try to intimidate workers has backfired spectacularly, adding to the anger of our members and exacerbating the impact for business and the public".

"Workers have to be pretty angry to give up on a full day's pay, let alone more.

"In this case we've got members who are prepared to be stood down yesterday, today, tomorrow and then walk out during Monday's department-wide 24-hour strike that will also hit airports," she said.