Public servants strike for job security
By Stuart Martin
CANBERRA — On December 17, 2000 members of the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) employed in the ACT public service went on strike for 24 hours in protest against the Liberal government's approach to enterprise bargaining.
The six-month-old dispute centres on the territory government's attempts to secure 50 separate agreements which allow no pay increases and forced redundancies. Agreements at present do not allow involuntary redundancies.
While the government has not budgeted for pay increases for workers, Chief Minister Kate Carnell and her cabinet have received a 16% pay increase, with another rise expected soon.
CPSU ACT government section secretary Tim Gooden told Green Left Weekly that the strike action was "an escalation in the campaign for job security and fair wages. Members are very angry at their treatment by the Liberal government. Job security is very important to our members, and governments should not be able to take it away."
The government has attempted to impose three non-union agreements on staff. In each case the CPSU ran a strong campaign which resulted in the agreements being rejected. Since then, the government has been attempting to offer staff individual contracts.
A meeting of the CPSU combined delegates' committee will meet on January 20 to discuss the campaign and make recommendation to members.