Federal public servants strike again

Federal public sector workers will strike on 21 March and across Easter as the government continues to push attacks on conditions and pay offers below inflation.

The government’s effort to strip domestic violence leave out of agreements in up to 30 public service departments made headlines on International Women’s Day, showing the hypocrisy in Malcolm Turnbull’s claim to respect women.

Workers in Immigration and Border Protection, including Customs workers at airports, will strike for 24-hours on Easter Thursday, and rolling stoppages in the three weeks following are on the table. This will result in disruption of international flights over the busy Easter period.

CPSU members elsewhere will strike together for the day on 21 March including across the Bureau of Statistics, the Tax Office, Bureau of Meteorology, Department of Human Services and Defence.

Workers in Immigration and Border Protection rejected the government’s offer in a second ballot in early March, with 80.9 per cent voting against. Staff in the Bureau of Meteorology voted no by a 68.3 per cent margin in February.

The union campaign is making headway, with the head of the Tax Office agreeing to drop demands for an extra 45 minutes at work each week, tougher rules of taking sick leave and the axing of a $300 annual health and well-being allowance.

But the union is again refusing to call meetings or rallies during March’s 24-hour strike. This is a missed opportunity to build members’ confidence to keep campaigning, and escalate the dispute.

Industrial action is the key to forcing the government to shift—and the union needs to do everything it can to build its ability to take action.

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