Following the offer of a below inflation pay deal to Department of Human Services officers, industrial action will commence on Thursday 11 December.
The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) has put its 30,000 staff on notice of its intention to implement a series of work bans and internal protect action. The actions will include not wearing corporate uniforms and reading an authorised CPSU statement before dealing with any customer inquiry made over the telephone.
The union hopes to avoid industrial action which affects customer services and payments, but the work bans signal a rocky time for Human Services staff and customers, while negotiation between the union and the Government are ongoing.
“Due to the lack of progress at negotiations and the Government’s unworkable bargaining policy we plan to start with a series of low level work bans designed to put pressure on DHS management and the Government while minimising inconvenience to DHS clients,” a notice to CPSU members stated.
A spokesperson for the Department of Human Services said in a statement, “We are extremely disappointed the CPSU has chosen to undertake a broad campaign of industrial action, as bargaining discussions are ongoing towards a new enterprise agreement and we are meeting our good faith obligations”.
The good news for customers is that both sides are determined that customers will not be affected.
“Industrial action to date has not had an adverse impact on our customers as we have in place contingency plans to address potential disruptions,” the Human Services spokesperson said. “The department remains open for business, and we have robust processes in place to ensure the delivery of health and welfare payments is not affected by any industrial action.”
In the event that Human Services is unable to process payments, there is the safeguard for customers for the Reserve Bank of Australia to re-run payments from the previous fortnight.