Public sector facing industrial action

by Chloe Taylor25 Mar 2015
Australia’s Agriculture Department is expecting industrial action as workplace unease in the public sector continues to rise.

According to reports by The Canberra Times, the national network of weather stations could also face disruption as the Bureau of Meteorology’s technicians are also preparing to take action.

The Agriculture Department has reportedly said that it has plans in place to continue its operations in the event of strike action. 

The department’s public servants – whose popular boss was recently sacked – will begin their planned action within ten days, with the intention of forcing their employer to engage in negotiations.

CPSU members voted in vast numbers in support of taking industrial action, in an effort to secure an offer for a new pay deal from department heads.

This comes almost nine months after the previous enterprise agreement’s expiry.

While the vote for industrial action was taking place, the department made its offer: a pay increase of less than 0.6% as well as the loss of penalty rates and allowances.

The department lost 12% of its permanent workers last year – and the offer is dependent on the loss of a further 42 jobs.

Industrial action will coincide with the absence of a Departmental Secretary following Paul Grimes’ sacking.

A spokesperson for the Agriculture Department said it would be capable of handling any industrial action.

“The department has arrangements in place to continue to deliver services to our clients on a risk-managed basis in the event of any action being taken,” they said. “The department will advise our clients and the community if they are likely to be affected by any disruption to our business.”

Dozens of technicians from the Bureau of Meteorology are concurrently expected to strike after losing patience with their bosses’ failure to make an offer in relation to wages and conditions.

Members of the Electrical Trades Union have secured permission for a protected action ballot with the union predicting the technicians will vote for stoppages, the Times reported.

A spokeswoman for the Bureau of Meteorology said that her department was “disappointed” with the union’s pursuit of industrial action, but said that the bureau was confident in its ability to minimise disruptions to essential services.


  • by Paul 29/03/2015 4:28:40 PM

    Isn't it odd that the CPSU ramps up its threats in the lead up to Easter. The last time they did this was in the lead up to Christmas. Seems o be a pattern developing here.

  • by Amanda Rochford 30/03/2015 11:23:48 AM

    There has been other industrial action held by other departments that doesnt correlate to either christmas or easter. The entire public sector (all and every government department) is in protracted negotiations over their enterprise agreements. These agreements ended in July 2014 and unions have been talking with department representatives on salary and working conditions since then. I find it interesting that you use the word 'threat'. Industrial action is not a threat. It is a legitimate course of action as recently recognised by the Fair Work Commission when it approved the CPSU application to take industrial action.

Most Read