||Issue No. 283||30 September 2005|
Revenge of the Footy Dads
Interview: Polar Eclipse
Industrial: Wrong Turn
Unions: Star Support
Workplace: Checked Out
Economics: Sold Out
Politics: Green Banned
History: Potted History
International: Curtain Call
Review: Little Fish
Poetry: Slug A Worker
The Locker Room
Hrowadís Meixd Msesgaes
Petrol Price of War
Last Long Weekend
Centrelink Crashes Internet
The CPSU issued a series of emails and posters calling on Whalan to drop his Pontious Pilate stance to stalled negotiations. Whalan responded with an improved offer then pulled all electronic contact with the union, making it impossible for members to comment or vote on his revised position.
CPSU spokesperson, Paul Ingwersen, said Whalan's blocking manoeuvre would do nothing to resolve the dispute.
"This is a denial of people's basic right to representation and information," Ingwersen said. "The federal government says people are free to join unions then, as an employer, denies them the right to meaningful contact with their union.
Whalan's counter-strike came after Centrelink clients had been warned of looming disruption as staff resisted the agency's urge to drive the federal government's IR agenda.
Thousands of CPSU members are holding rolling stoppages around Australia in an effort to have Centrelink deal with enterprise bargaining claims on their merits.
Ingwersen, said five months of negotiations had stalled over attempts to impose AWAs, move employment conditions from the enforceable EBA into "policy"; and a below-par wage offer.
Earlier this year, Centrelink moved to undermine the collective agreement by advertising for staff who would be forced onto individual, non-union AWAs.
Ingwersen said Centrelink management had taken an "ideological" approach to bargaining.
"This approach is needlessly making life more difficult for Centrelink clients and placing services at risk by forcing workers to choose between industrial action, an AWA, or a sub-standard EBA offer," Ingwersen said.
"It's as if Centrelink is trying to road-test the federal government's new industrial relations laws.'
Twenty four thousand Centrelink employees begin rolling stopwork meetings this week and millions of agency clients have been warned they may need to reschedule appointments.
They are chasing a 12.5 percent wage increase over three years, a Centrelink commitment to negotiate the next collective agreement with their union, and the right of staff to choose whether or not they are employed under AWAs.
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