News : Union Members Rally Over Centrelink Pay and Conditions
Coffs Harbour, NSW, Australia, May 18, 2015 -- Dozens of staff from Centrelink's Coffs Harbour call centre and service centre walked off the job for an hour, over a pay dispute with the Federal Government.
Union members voted to take further industrial action, if progress is not made in pay negotiations.
The Community and Public Sector Union has been locked in a pay dispute with the government for more than 12 months.
The action was part of a broader national campaign against the government's offer.
Union Deputy President Lisa Newman joined the rally in Coffs Harbour, and said they understand the need to cut costs - but the Government is taking the wrong approach.
"We are not opposed to increasing efficiency," she said.
"What we have a problem with is a blunt axe, that basically says that increased productivity can be gained from absolutely smashing people's terms and conditions of employment, and driving their real wages backwards."
Roughly one hundred staff stopped work for an hour just before lunchtime, meeting outside Gateway House on Mastrocolas Road.
Ms Newman said the current pay-increase offer is not reasonable, and would eventually leave staff worse off.
"These people have not had a pay increase for a year," she said.
"They have been offered a pay increase of 3.25 percent over three years, when the projected inflation rate over that period is 7.5 percent.
"That's driving their real wages backwards.
"And for that, they're being offered massive cuts in terms and conditions."
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Centrelink is a government agency delivering a range of Commonwealth services to the Australian community. Centrelink is a statutory authority responsible, through its Board, to the Minister for Family and Community Services. The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, has responsibility for Centrelink’’s day-to-day operations. Centrelink operates under the Commonwealth Services Delivery Agency Act 1997 which formally came into effect on 1 July 1997.
Published: Monday, May 25, 2015