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Get ready for 'weeks of rolling strikes' at Australian airports -- starting this Thursday

Photo: Jasper Juinen/ Getty Images.

The largest strike in the public sector’s two year industrial battle starts today and is scheduled to run over Easter long weekend and beyond.

It kicks off with staff at Medicare, Centrelink, the tax office, Defence, the Bureau of Meteorology, the department of prime minister and Cabinet, and the Bureau of Statistics, who will walk off the job for 24 hours today.

Immigration, border protection and agriculture workers will then strike at international airports for 24-hours on Thursday, March 24 – the day before Good Friday.

And it won’t stop there.

The Community and Public Sector Union says the industrial action will consist of “weeks of rolling strikes” beyond Easter.

“These large-scale strikes reflect the incredible frustration being felt by people working in the public sector,” said CPSU national secretary Nadine Flood.

“Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has ignored our offer of talks to fix the Government’s public sector bargaining mess, so serious industrial action will begin on Monday and continue in airports for a number of weeks.”

The strikes are set to disrupt the travel plans of thousands of travelers across Australia, to whom Flood says: “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.”

Recent agreements put forward by the government were rejected in a vote by 85% of staff at the ATO, 81% of immigration and border force staff and nearly 80% of employees at the department of human services.

“Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has ignored our offer of talks to fix the Government’s public sector bargaining mess, so serious industrial action will begin on Monday and continue in airports for a number of weeks,” Flood said.

Here are the details about the strikes we know so far.

  • APS wide strike on March 21: 24-hour strike action by eligible members in a range of APS agencies including AAT, ABS, ATO, BoM, Defence , DHS, DPS, Education, Environment, GeoScience, IP Australia, PM&C and Synchrotron.
  • DIBP & DAWR strike on March 24: 24-hour strike on Easter Thursday by members in Immigration, Border Protection and Agriculture including at international airports.
  • Rolling airport stoppages: DIBP members including Border Force members will undertake several weeks of extended rolling stoppages, with action commencing after the APS strike on 21 March at international airports.

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