By Ben Courtice
MELBOURNE — Management of the Australian Taxation Office has decided to make compulsorily redundant staff in INB Business Line, where there have not been enough volunteers for the redundancies that management wishes to implement. More than 50 staff in Victoria and New South Wales are facing the sack.
The Community and Public Sector Union has held stop-work meetings to vote on an industrial campaign of rolling stoppages from September 1. The stoppages are to go until 10am, with members encouraged to participate in picket lines, and will be held over a week and a half, a few offices around the country taking action each day.
Several union meetings also voted on two motions by the Members First network in the union. One calls for a one-day strike on September 1, to start the campaign on a strong note. The second calls for the union's National Management Committee to honour its promise to bring all union members into action in support of anyone who is being sacked, by calling mass stop-work meetings on August 29.
The strike motion was deemed contrary to the official motion in some meetings, and hence lapsed. The second motion was passed almost unanimously at the Casselden Place (Melbourne CBD) meeting. However, in the majority of meetings for which reports are available, both Members First motions were not passed, and a pessimistic attitude prevails.
Members First activist Chris Slee said, "So far, the union has only taken token action. Unless much more resolute action is recommended and supported by the union leaders, it is inevitable that members are going to be pessimistic about our chances. Members First aims to present a strategy that could turn this situation around."
There is at least one outstanding point of support: members of the DEETYA administration office in Brisbane CBD passed a motion in support of action by ATO members, and calling for public sector-wide action.
If this sort of support is spread throughout other departments, it does have the potential to inspire successful action in defence of ATO members' jobs.
All CPSU members are encouraged to pass the motion in their workplace and forward a copy to the CPSU national office and to Chris Slee for Members First, on (03) 9285 1902 (work).