14 November 2023

Fair Work Ombudsman, Employment and Workplace Relations union staff holding two-hour strike

| Andrew McLaughlin
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CPSU members with flags

The Fair Work Ombudsman and Dept of Employment and Workplace Relations are next in line to suffer CPSU member industrial action. Photo: CPSU.

Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) members from the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR) and the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) are holding a two-hour strike this morning (14 November) as the union ramps up industrial action in support of its wage claim.

The two-hour strike will run from 8:30 am to 10:30 am, and follows a one-hour strike by DEWR and FWO union member staff that was held on 2 November and two one-hour strikes by meat inspectors and on-plant veterinarians in the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry CPSU members.

The action is the latest in a series of escalating strikes by CPSU members as the union seeks to improve the pay offer from the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC).

The offer currently stands at 11.2 per cent over three years, revised up from an earlier offer of 10.5 per cent, but is still a long way short of the union’s demand for a 20 per cent wage rise. Negotiations have been stalled since late September.

The two parties are believed to be much closer in agreeing on revised work conditions, including work from home rights, improved loadings and paid parental leave.

READ ALSO CPSU presses hard ‘no’ on pay deal as APSC highlights conditions on offer

“Service-wide bargaining is a unique opportunity for the government to negotiate a pay and conditions package that brings together a fragmented and disparate APS,” CPSU National Secretary Melissa Donnelly said on Monday (13 November).

“The CPSU wants to see a package on the table that APS employees can proudly get behind, and we believe the government wants that too.

“There is a clear and simple fix here,” she said. “The conditions package that has been negotiated contains industry-leading working from home rights, an increase to casual loading, significant improvements to paid parental leave and enhanced job security provisions.

“But APS employees want to see the government do better on pay.

A protected action ballot of CPSU members in the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) closes later today, the result of which may see ACCC union members take action as soon as next week.

Previous actions, including one-hour stoppages and a full-day strike, were taken by Services Australia union staff last month.

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