Tax workers reject pay ‘lemon’

"The pay offer is a lemon" has been the theme of protests by Australian Taxation Office (ATO) workers around Australia over the past two weeks.

Workers have put lemons on their desks and stuck up posters of lemons to symbolise their rejection of management's pay offer of 9% over three years, which is less than the rate of inflation.

Some workers have called for strike action in the tax office, as has happened in other government agencies.

However, the leaders of the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) have advised that this may be illegal under the Labor government's Fair Work Act.

This is because, even though the agreement covering most workers expired on June 30, 2011, some ATO employees are covered by a separate agreement that continues until June 2012.

The CPSU wants to bring both groups under the same agreement, but any industrial action in support of this goal appears to be illegal, even for the majority whose agreement has expired.

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