Industrial action intensifies across the public sector

CSIRO staff are not alone in their fight against the Abbott Government’s harsh bargaining strategy, with thousands of CPSU members recently taking part in a series of one hour stoppages, stepping up the union campaign to protest cuts to rights, conditions and jobs.

Workers from Tax Office, Defence, Veterans Affairs, The Department of Employment, The Bureau of Meteorology, Geoscience Australia, Environment and The Department of Human Services all participated in protected action, adding strike action to a range of already imposed internal work bans.

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Strong turnout sends a strong message

Taking industrial action for the first time in fifteen years, Tax Office members launched the roll-out of stoppages the same day the Federal Government handed down the budget, with members from every site across the nation walking off the job. 

Hundreds of workers at the Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support took part in work stoppages the following Monday, with CPSU members making their voices heard particularly in regional areas.

Tuesday’s stop-work meetings at the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) and the Department of Agriculture were well attended – with BoM members in Melbourne joined by ACTU President Ged Kearney, who delivered a message of support on behalf of all union workers nationwide. 

Members from the National Library, Geoscience Australia, and Environment – including the Australian Antarctic Division – gathered for work stoppages on Wednesday.

Taking their grievances directly to their boss, staff at Eric Abetz’s own department walked off the job on Thursday. The action at the Department of Employment was accompanied with one hour work stoppages by their colleagues in Defence and Veterans Affairs.

Workers reject ‘draconian’ deals

The stoppages across the public sector represent the largest round of industrial action the Commonwealth Government has seen in thirty years.

 “Public sector workers don’t take industrial action lightly but they have been pushed to this point by a government that is intent on attacking the living standards, pay and conditions of 160, 000 public servants,” CPSU National Secretary Nadine Flood said.

“Workers are being asked to cop a massive cut to rights and conditions.

“The deals this government are offering are so draconian that no one could accept them,” Ms Flood said.

Time for CSIRO management to stand up for staff

Members in CSIRO are encouraged to continue applying bans on effort logging, working more than 7 hours 21 minutes per day, attending face-to-face meetings with managers and responding to internal voice messages.

However, unless senior management reject the Federal Government’s unworkable bargaining position, Staff Association members will need to follow the footsteps of their colleagues in the CPSU and escalate the campaign to protect working conditions.

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