There will be more interruptions affecting Medicare, Centrelink and Child Support offices, with two weeks of strikes planned from Thursday.
The Community and Public Sector Union said members will strike every business day until April 26th in a bid to end the three-year impasse over their existing workplace rights..
Daily strike action will run for longer too, from 7:00AM to 8:30PM, with the exception of today April 13.
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CPSU National Secretary Nadine Flood said “a full fortnight of strikes in Medicare, Centrelink and Child Support shows how frustrated these workers are”.
“We’re talking about thousands of people with bills to pay, many of them part-time working mums on around $40,000 a year.
“They’re doing it really tough because they’ve gone more than three years without a pay rise as this dispute has dragged on and on and on.
“Our team has worked tirelessly trying to negotiate through this mess with DHS management.
“Those talks are ongoing and are currently being overseen by the Fair Work Commission, but there’s been no movement from DHS’s bosses or in fact any sign whatsoever that they actually want to resolve this.
“DHS stands out as we make slow but steady progress at other Commonwealth agencies.
“These strikes are being held at a period of high demand for DHS services, and we do expect this will cause significant disruption to the department.
“Our members work every day to help Australians access the essential services provided through Medicare, Centrelink and Child Support.
“Now they’re asking for the public’s support in resolving this dispute so this disruption can end.
“DHS workers really aren’t asking for much. All they want to do is hold on to rights and conditions that have been in place for many years and allow them to balance their working and family lives.
“The department and Employment Minister Michaelia Cash appear to be continuing to ignore the unacceptable disadvantage to working parents that this dispute is really about.
“Anyone trying to call Centrelink or get help at a Medicare office in their lunch hour can tell you that DHS is an agency in crisis.
“The Turnbull Government’s attacks on DHS have caused serious damage, with 36 million phone calls going unanswered last year, 5,000 permanent jobs slashed and this bargaining mess.
“Resolving bargaining would be an important first stepping to getting this agency back on track”, she finished.