Rolling strikes to hit Federal Courts as staff demand fair hearing

CPSU members working in the Federal Courts will go back on strike this week, further escalating their fight with their employer to retain essential workplace rights and job security.

Rolling strikes have been notified for Wednesday and Thursday, November 1 and 2, in the Federal, Family and Federal Circuit Courts and the National Native Title Tribunal.

Union members in the courts – who are negotiating a single agreement because of a merger in the middle of last year – will be legally protected to take rolling strike action between 8.30am and 6.30pm on both days of the action.

CPSU Deputy National President Rupert Evans said: “This is the second round of strike action by CPSU members in the Federal Courts. These rolling strikes are an escalation on the action Courts staff took less than a fortnight ago when they went on strike for the first time, reflecting their growing frustration at their bosses’ stubborn attempts to strip away critical workplace rights and job security.”

“The previous half-day strike caused significant disruption, including the closure of numerous registry offices, but we’ve seen absolutely no movement in negotiations with management since. Courts bosses have even rejected the Fair Work Commission’s offer of conciliation to help resolve bargaining, which is a bitter irony given that mediation and conciliation are fundamental principles of our justice system.”

“This situation has taken a real toll on people working in the Courts and their families, as they’ve gone more than four years without a pay rise. They only got to vote on an enterprise agreement proposal in June this year, with a strong 90% No in that ballot ignored by their bosses. Job security is a real concern for these people, given the cuts that have already happened and the rights that are in the firing line.”

“The inflexibility of Courts management is doing nothing to resolve this long-running dispute, while doing further damage to staff morale. Management need to recognise that the key issue for staff in this dispute is holding onto their existing workplace rights and job security, and that there won’t be a resolution until these harsh and unreasonable cuts are taken off the table.”

“Our members have reported strong support from members of the public for their industrial action, showing that people interacting with the courts recognise the important work of Courts staff and are sympathetic with their determination to be treated fairly by their bosses. An open letter continues to be handed out to provide more details of the awful predicament staff still find themselves in.”

“The Federal Courts is one of the only agencies where bargaining remains in such a frustrating deadlock. It’s well past time for Attorney-General George Brandis to step in and advise Courts management to follow the lead set by other Commonwealth agencies that have successfully brokered agreements after belatedly recognised that retaining rights and conditions is the key to settlement.”