The Department of Immigration and Border Protection employees have started a ten-day strike at international airports across Australia in protest against pay cuts and working conditions.
The strike at the country's eight international airports in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Cairns, Adelaide, Perth and Darwin, is expected to cause major flight delays and operational disruptions.
The strike started at 4am in Cairns and could potentially delay international cargo, as well as mails, according to media reports.
Teams that handle the passenger processing on international flights will stop work for two hours twice a day during peak hours as part of the strike, which could last until the end of September.
Community and Public Sector Union secretary Nadine Flood said: "They're turning heavy-handed tactics on their own workforce, when sitting down and resolving this 18-month dispute would be a better option."
The employees are protesting against the pay proposal that cuts current wages, leaving some workers receiving A$8,000 less a year.
Meanwhile, Australian Border Force acting deputy commissioner operations Stephen Allen was quoted by smh.com as saying: "We recommend that passengers booked on international flights departing next week arrive early in accordance with your airline's guidelines.
"After check-in, we suggest passengers promptly proceed straight to immigration and customs clearance.
"We are continuing to work closely with our partner agencies to minimise impacts on operations.
"The health, safety and security of the public and our staff continue to be our priority."