Workers at Dubbo’s Centrelink and Medicare who are union members and their counterparts across Australia are taking part in a fortnight of strikes as a pay dispute continues.
The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) announced the action would take place every business day to April 26.
CPSU national secretary Nadine Flood said members were doing it tough because they had gone more than three years without a pay rise as the dispute dragged on.
Department of Human Services (DHS) general manager Hank Jongen said the CPSU’s actions would not change the department’s position on the new agreement, and offered assurances the strikes would not impact payments to community members.
A CPSU spokesman confirmed members in Centrelink and Medicare would be striking across the country, including at Dubbo.
Ms Flood said a full fortnight of strikes showed how frustrated workers were.
Ms Flood reported that talks with DHS management were ongoing and were being overseen by the Fair Work Commission.
“These strikes are being held at a period of high demand for DHS services, and we do expect this will cause significant disruption to the department,” Ms Flood said.
“Our members work every day to help Australians access the essential services provided through Medicare, Centrelink and Child Support.
“Now they’re asking for the public’s support in resolving this dispute so this disruption can end.”
Mr Jongen said the industrial action would not impact payments, but was designed to disrupt face-to-face and telephone services.
“The timing is extremely poor as we have staff going the extra mile to support those recovering from disaster events in Queensland and New South Wales,” he said.
“Other recent stoppages have had minimal disruption and services will continue during this latest action.
“We ask people for patience and apologise in advance if anyone experiences delays, but don’t forget our self-service options can help you beat any queues.
“The CPSU’s actions will not change the department’s position in relation to the new enterprise agreement.”