The Turnbull government is seeking to stop six days of industrial action planned by Centrelink and Medicare staff next week, claiming it is illegal under the Fair Work Act.
The Department of Human Services told the Fair Work Commission the action was designed to pressure the government over the so-called Centrelink “robo-debt crisis” and not in support of bargaining.
Announcing the action on Monday, the Community and Public Sector Union said it was “over the continuing damage caused by senior management and the Turnbull government, including through the stalled enterprise bargaining process and the Centrelink robo-debt crisis”.
The department said the action was not permissible under the Fair Work Act.
CPSU national secretary Nadine Flood said last night the union would oppose the application when it was heard by the commission today.
“This is an extraordinary attempt by DHS to stop our members from striking or letting their customers know what’s happening.
“It’s patently ridiculous for the department to claim strike action is just about robo-debt when our members have been taking similar industrial action for 18 months over the government’s attack on their rights.”