National

Public Service Commissioner John Lloyd condemns strike as cynical and disruptive

Public service commissioner John Lloyd has condemned proposed strike action at international airports as cynical and deliberately designed to cause maximum disruption at Easter.

Union members at the Department of Immigration and Border Protection will launch a 24-hour strike on Thursday as part of a national campaign designed to break a two-year deadlock on pay and entitlement negotiations.

Strikes set to affect Easter travel

A large public sector strike will affect Easter travel, along with access to other government services. Courtesy ABC News 24

The industrial action has prompted the federal government and airlines to arrange contingency measures and encourage passengers to arrive early for flights and expect delays.

Community and Public Sector Union officials have acknowledged the strike action will inconvenience the public over Easter, but have defended the industrial action as necessary.

Mr Lloyd called on public servants to think carefully before participating in the strikes, which he described as "designed to cause maximum disruption to the public at Easter".

"To strike on the day before a long weekend is a cynical move by the CPSU," he said.

"It will simply cause difficulty and stress for the public. This action will cause delays and inconvenience on one of the busiest travel days of the year."

He said the industrial action would do nothing to advance the union's claims and thanked those who had remained at work.

Public Service Commissioner John Lloyd has urged staff to reconsider industrial action.
Public Service Commissioner John Lloyd has urged staff to reconsider industrial action.  Photo: Jay Cronan

"Employees in agencies that have already successfully negotiated new agreements are approaching their second pay increase and continue to enjoy excellent conditions of employment," he said.

"This is despite CPSU scaremongering about what the new agreements would bring."

On Monday, DIBP assistant commissioner Clive Murray said the government had made contingency plans to limit the impact of the industrial action.

"However, delays will occur and those travelling overseas over the Easter period are encouraged to arrive early at the airport, and then to proceed directly to customs and immigration clearance," he said.

Department of Agriculture staff working in biosecurity will also walk off the job on Thursday with rolling industrial action to continue at airports in coming weeks.

The strike comes after staff at 13 federal departments and agencies walked off the job on Monday, causing delays for those accessing key Centrelink and Medicare services.

Clients were encouraged to avoid lodging non-urgent inquiries on Monday or to conduct their business via online portals.

Mr Lloyd said it was unfortunate the union had chosen 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," he said.

CPSU national secretary Nadine Flood said the strikes reflected "the incredible frustration" felt by those working in the public sector.

"Striking workers are targeting the politicians and bosses who continue to treat them with contempt, but these rolling strikes may have some impact on the public, particularly at international airports," she said.

"As with previous action at airports, we would advise passengers to contact their airline for information on whether they will be effected, and allow extra time when departing and arriving on international flights."

Mr Lloyd told those preparing to strike to consider how the strike action would impact their own circumstances.

"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," he said.

"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."