DHS agreement sinks again: 79.5% vote NO

Staff in the Commonwealth’s largest agency, the Department of Human Services, have voted 79.47% No to a proposed enterprise agreement based on the Government’s failed public sector bargaining policy.

77.51% of DHS’s 34,000 staff working in Medicare, Centrelink and Child Support participated in the ballot, producing another emphatic rejection of the Government’s policy after the 83% No vote in DHS in September last year.

The emphatic No result was delivered despite the voting system crashing and related reports of voting irregularities, with some workers concerned their vote may not have been counted, an issue which the CPSU is continuing to pursue with DHS management.

CPSU National Secretary Nadine Flood said: “The mums and dads working in DHS have voted in their thousands to once again reject a dud deal based on the Government’s deeply flawed and unfair public sector bargaining policy."

“The agreement being pushed by DHS management still seeks to strip important rights and conditions, including essential family-friendly protections such as where and when you can be moved to work, in return for a sub-standard pay offer that does not compensate staff for a wage freeze that’s now stretched for nearly 20 months.”

“Medicare, Centrelink and Child Support staff in DHS work in highly scheduled call centres and customer service environments, so their employment conditions have to reflect the realities of balancing their work and family lives. They can’t change their child-care and other family commitments at the drop of a hat, but the Government’s bargaining policy is flying in the face of the increasingly family-friendly policies being adopted in the private sector.”

“DHS staff across Medicare, Centrelink and Child Support account for more than 20% of the entire APS workforce. It’s well past time for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Minister Michaelia Cash to abandon the Tony Abbott and Eric Abetz playbook and work with us to fix this mess with a fair and reasonable outcome.”

Simon Frazer | Media Adviser | Community and Public Sector Union | 0409 493 290