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Centrelink staff to strike over debt scandal, budget cuts and pay

6 February 2017
Christopher Knaus
The Guardian

Department of Human Services staff will strike over pay, budget cuts and the Centrelink “robo debt” scandal, which together form an “ideological attack” by the Turnbull government, according to the Community and Public Sector union.

The CPSU announced the planned strike action on Monday, saying problems in the department went “far deeper” than Centrelink’s controversial automated debt recovery system, which has been criticised for its inaccuracy and unfairness.


The department’s general manager, Hank Jongen, said any disruptions would likely hit telephone and face-to-face services on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday next week.


Flood said the industrial action was designed to highlight the Turnbull government’s ideological attacks on the department and the actions of senior management, who had “blindly followed” the Coalition’s agenda.

“Our members are doing this because they care about the quality of the services they provide, which is why workers dealing with sensitive clients such as those being dragged through the robo-debt crisis will not be taking industrial action,” Flood said. “These workers are among the lowest paid in the commonwealth public sector and stand to lose the most under the government’s harsh public-sector bargaining policy."


Industrial action will take place on 13, 15, 17, 20, 22 and 24 February.