Passengers are being warned to prepare for significant delays at Sydney's international airport as Border Protection staff strike over an ongoing dispute with the federal government over employment conditions.

A series of rolling strikes by Department of Immigration and Border Protection staff were planned to start at 6.30am on Monday and could continue for several days, the Community and Public Sector Union said.

For three years staff have been fighting an attempt to cut pay through removal of conditions for dangerous or specialised work and for the right to have a say if there are moves to change their place or times of work, a union spokesman told AAP.

Rolling stoppages by union members will begin on Monday and continue until October 9, and strikes "may occur at any airport, cruise ship terminal or cargo facility at any time during the day or night" during that time, the CPSU said.


There will be exemptions for staff working in national security and general public safety.
The CPSU said it had been requesting meetings with the federal government to resolve the pay issue but had been unsuccessful.

"Our overwhelming preference remains to sit down and find a fair and sensible resolution but the Turnbull Government has shown it is unwilling to do so," CPSU national secretary Nadine Flood said.

She said for almost three years, all that Department of Immigration and Border Protection staff have seen was "proposals to cut their existing rights and conditions and even cut some officers current take home pay".

"DIBP staff are highly trained, committed and hard working," Ms Flood said.