By Chris Slee
MELBOURNE — The Industrial Relations Commission has granted a reprieve to a group of workers in the Individual Non-Business Taxes section of the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) threatened with compulsory redundancy.
At an IRC hearing on November 28, Commissioner Blair directed ATO management to again delay announcing the names of workers to be "declared excess", and to make further efforts to find workers in other parts of the ATO and the public service generally who want voluntary redundancy and are willing to swap with those to be sacked. Another IRC hearing will be held on December 10.
As a result of swaps already found, planned sackings have been reduced from 50 to 11. Management wanted the go-ahead to declare the 11 people excess straight away.
Ben Courtice, a CPSU delegate at Moonee Ponds tax office, told Green Left Weekly: "It is possible that compulsory redundancies might be avoided this time. But even if this happens, there are already new rounds of redundancies planned as part of the ATO's ongoing 'downsizing' and 'outsourcing'. The whole CPSU should be ready to act in support of workers facing redundancy.
"Opposing compulsory redundancies while accepting voluntary ones is not enough. Cuts to public service jobs add to the already high level of unemployment, increase workloads for those who remain and result in delays and poor service. A strong industrial and political campaign against the whole downsizing/outsourcing policy of the government could win broad popular support. This is the approach the CPSU needs to take."