Court closed after workers walk out

The Melbourne Family and Federal Circuit Court Registry was today closed when workers walked off the job in a further escalation of their battle for fair pay and conditions.

It is the second time this week strikes have put Courts out of action after a Sydney Court had to close on Wednesday. The Honourable Justice Ann Ainslie-Wallace was required to adjourn the Full Court (Family Court Sydney) when staff took protected industrial action.

Federal, Family and Federal Circuit Courts and National Native Title Tribunal staff have gone four years without a pay increase and face cuts to workplace rights and conditions. The Courts also suffered job losses as a result of a recent merger.

“CPSU members in Courts have been working hard to get a fair offer from management, but management is still trying to cut their rights and conditions and offering pay that would see them go backwards. It’s regrettable that Registries have closed because of strike action, but management won’t even let Fair Work conciliate a fair offer. Staff feel like they have no other option but to strike,” Deputy National President Rupert Evans said.

This week’s action is the third time Courts staff have taken strike action. Since strike action began on 20 October, Registries around the country including Darwin, Adelaide, Newcastle and Melbourne have closed when workers walked off the job and two judges in Melbourne adjourned court due to the industrial action.

“All Federal public servants struggled to get a fair deal under the Turnbull government’s harsh bargaining policy, but in other agencies across the APS we managed to get the fairest deals possible. The Courts offer is really scraping the bottom of the barrel. Courts management seem to be treating this negotiation like a grudge match and their Courts staff like poor cousins.

“In the past, we’ve called for Attorney-General Senator George Brandis to step in and instruct Courts management to end this deadlock, but he has previously washed his hands of responsibility. Today, in light of this latest closure, we’re repeating that call to Senator Brandis,” Mr Evans said.

Notice of office closure

Picture: The industrial action notice in the window of the Melbourne Family and Federal Circuit Court Registry this morning.