Defence, parliament workers take industrial action

CPSU defence staff protest in Canberra. Photo:

Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) members in several government departments are continuing to campaign against the federal government's policy of limiting pay rises to 3% a year, which is less than the rate of inflation.

CPSU members in the defence department walked off the job for one hour on August 25 to attend protest meetings over stalled pay negotiations. Civilian staff at more than 70 defence bases and offices throughout the country took part.

CPSU national secretary Nadine Flood said the action was the first time in 20 years CPSU members in defence had taken industrial action over a pay dispute.

“These employees deserve a pay deal that won’t leave them worse off after three years — one that keeps up with the rising cost of living,” Flood said on August 24.

“The protest reflects overwhelming levels of dissatisfaction with the department’s approach to negotiations. Defence staff don’t take work stoppages lightly or easily. These actions are very much a last resort …

“But our members aren’t prepared to accept the proposed agreement and they are deeply concerned by the continual devaluation of their work.

“People are being asked to do more with less, for less.

“We are keen to settle this matter, but until the secretary approaches government and there is a better offer, this action will continue and potentially escalate.”

Department of Parliamentary Services workers at Canberra’s parliament house walked off the job for four hours on August 23. The stoppages affected staff in visitor services, information technology, Hansard, the parliamentary library and broadcasting.

Ballots for “protected” (legal) industrial action are now being held in Customs and in the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.

CPSU members in the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) have held a range of protest activities at different offices.

In Canberra on August 24, 60 people gathered outside one ATO building, chanted slogans and marched to another ATO building.

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