BY JIM MCILROY
BRISBANE Members of the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) employed by Centrelink, the federal government's social services agency, will meet across Australia over the two-week period beginning October 28, to the results of continuing negotiations between the union and management over a drawn-out enterprise bargaining agreement process.
A plan to increase regional office opening hours is controversial. This would cause staffing and rostering problems for employees in customer service centres, who are struggling with the workload now. Changes in flextime arrangements will also be debated.
Another major issue for discussion will be Centrelink's pay offer of a total of 12.5% over three years. Centrelink staff have received no pay rise since July 2001, and the call for backdating the pay rise to the middle of 2002 has been widely raised. Staff have also questioned the net rise after inflation, when the productivity gains of the agreement for Centrelink are considered.
Other major issues for debate will include changes in classification and performance assessment, which will continue to be jointly reviewed by the CPSU and Centrelink next year, and the ongoing controversy over personal leave and changed rules regarding provision of medical certificates for illness.
[Jim McIlroy is a CPSU workplace delegate.]
From Green Left Weekly, October 30, 2002.
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