Aviation

Quarantine officers strike at Perth International Airport

CALEB GORTON

Perth international airport quarantine officers walked off the job for 30 minutes this morning to protest Federal Government cuts to working conditions and pay.

The strike was part of a national Community and Public Sector Union protest where quarantine officers working at several airports, ports and regional centres around Australia stopped work at 10.30am.

Quarantine officers gathered outside the Perth airport terminal as part of the nationwide protest.

CPSU national secretary Nadine Flood said the union had been trying for more than a year to get “a sensible outcome” on new staff agreements.

“Biosecurity officers are on the frontline every day monitoring what’s coming in and out of the country, protecting the food we eat and the goods that we export,” she said.

“These people do tough dirty work and the government proposes to reward them by cutting their take-home pay, cutting jobs and attacking their conditions.”

The government has offered a one per cent pay rise in exchange for cuts to working conditions but an agreement has not been reached.

Quarantine officers check international cargo for foreign seeds, plants, insects and other bio-hazards. They also conduct inspections to ensure exports are free of contaminants.

They will hand out brochures at airports over the Easter weekend to protest 11,000 public service job cuts last year, including 700 from the Department of Agriculture.

CPSU WA regional secretary Sue Bowers said quarantine officers were hardworking people with a very important job.

“Our aim is to put pressure on the government, not to disrupt people’s Easter travel plans,” she said.

Ten other departments are taking part in the industrial action.