There was a breakthrough in our campaign for jobs and services last week, with Human Services Minister Kim Carr agreeing to extend 667 Centrelink call centres jobs for six months.
Standing up for job and services
On Friday 11 August, the CPSU reached agreement with the Minister for Human Services to save the 667 temporary positions that were due to be cut from Centrelink call centres at the end of August, and to hold a review of services.
Over the next six months the review of Centrelink call centre services will be undertaken by the union and DHS to identify how to “improve service delivery to the public”. This working group will report directly to the Minister in February 2013. While the joint review is conducted, DHS has agreed to maintain current staffing levels.
CPSU Deputy National President, Lisa Newman said, "This is a great result, not just for our members but for the Australian public.
"Congratulations to all our members and delegates who worked hard to achieve this. They talked to staff about the issues, collected feedback, researched Government records, encouraged non-members to join the union to support the campaign, met with local members of parliament and invited them to the workplace to experience the situation for first-hand.
"This important commitment from the Government shows what members can achieve when they work together." said Ms Newman.
While last week's agreement will stop the job cuts and help to secure staff levels in Centrelink call centres, there's more work to do.
We know that to meet the challenges of a changing economy and growing population Australia needs a strong, well-resourced public sector. Right now our public sector is under threat from short-sighted plans to slash budgets and cut essential job and services.
The CPSU is fighting to protect jobs and to ensure adequate funding for essential public services.
Not yet a member?
Ultimately, the strength of the CPSU depends on your support. The more members we have, the better able we’ll be to improve working conditions in your workplace and beyond. To join, see your CPSU delegate or join securely online here.
Facts on understaffing in Centrelink call centres
There has been a drop of 1278 (32%) equivalent full time staff in 12 months, from 3942 in April 2011 down to 2664 April this year
Centrelink call centres are predicted to answer an extra 1 million calls this year
There are currently around 450 short term contract staff in call centres, or about 14% of total staff, on fixed term contracts set to expire 29 June
The number of customer calls answered within the government key performance indication of 150 seconds is now 22%. This is a 39% drop compared to the same time in April last year
Customer complaints about busy lines and wait times are up by 35% this year.
Find out more about DHS staffing cuts and minimum staffing plans here.