Centrelink workers to continue strikes
By Melanie Sjoberg
On December 3, Community and Public Sector Union members employed at Centrelink endorsed state-by-state rolling half-day stoppages from December 8 to 17. This is the next step in the CPSU campaign against the federal government's plan to eliminate 5000 jobs.
The union had deferred the industrial campaign to allow discussions with Warren Truss, the minister for community services, on November 25. Truss initiated the talks following stop-work action by Centrelink CPSU members on November 19.
At the November 25 meeting, Truss said the job cuts were "a fact of living within a fixed income".
Philippa Stanford, a CPSU section councillor in South Australia, told Green Left Weekly that the decision to continue industrial action "is crucial to the success of the campaign.
"It was always unlikely that the government would bow down quickly without a serious industrial campaign. We have won an enormous amount of support, and the last industrial action was well received by the community and clients of Centrelink. It's essential that we escalate the industrial campaign."
Other motions around the country included a call for a national day of action that includes a 24-hour strike and a community rally of all public service workers.
According to Mark Cronin, section councillor in Queensland, these motions, "initially proposed by the Democratic Socialists, are gaining support amongst CPSU members. It is particularly clear to those members who used to work in the now defunct CES that a strong industrial campaign is crucial. Without this approach, we are likely to see another CES disaster."