Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has moved forward with calls for the suspension of airport strikes as a significant security system is required amidst the terrorist threats after the Brussels attacks.
Following the attacks in Belgium, the strikes were called off by airport staff members but the unions plan to resume it on Wednesday. In addition to airport staff, border force officials, as well as quarantine officers, have also joined the industrial action and prompted travel delays. The Community and Public Sector Union, however, said that the national security at the airport would not be affected in any manner because of the industrial action by the border force, immigration and quarantine staff.
According to Sky News, the union withdrew the strike on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s request in the wake of the attacks at Brussels. Union National Secretary Nadine Flood claimed the national security would not be affected as the officers involved in the strike had always been exempt from this. “As the prime minister acknowledged last week, this industrial action by border protection and agriculture staff does not risk people’s security, national security or counter-terrorism efforts,” she told the Seven Network on Wednesday.
Flood added that the staff had to carry out the industrial action because of their unsuccessful two-year negotiations with the union government with regards to pay disputes and work conditions.
The statement, however, does not convince Dutton. “The threat hasn’t passed within a couple of days following the Brussels attack,” Dutton told ABC Radio. “These rolling strikes aren’t welcome and I hope that they come to an end sooner than later.”
9News reported that Turnbull thanked the workers for adhering to his suggestions to delay the strikes and he also requested his minister to look into the matter and try to solve the issue. “I am encouraging, asking and urging (the union) to resolve its industrial dispute by negotiation,” Turnbull told reporters in Sydney on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the prime minister assured travellers of the utmost security provided at airports by the Australian Federal Police.