The Community and Public Sector Union’s full day strike action on Monday 21 March will unfairly impact Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support customers.
General Manager Hank Jongen said while the Department of Human Services will have contingency arrangements in place, the strike is likely to cause service disruption and delays for customers.
“The lead up to Easter is always an extra busy time because our staff are already working hard in a short week to ensure people are paid before the public holidays,” Mr Jongen said.
“This action further stretches our resources and punishes people who need government support.
“We are concerned the union is encouraging its members to take counterproductive industrial action, which will inconvenience people across Australia, including some of the most vulnerable people in our community.
“We are confident customers’ payments will occur as usual and we will do our best to minimise disruptions to services.
“However, we may have reduced numbers of staff in service centres and on the phone and increased wait times on Monday.
“Our advice to customers is – if you don’t need to contact us urgently, consider delaying your visit or contacting us another time. Alternatively, use self service options to do your regular business with us.
“This will ensure our available staff are able to assist those most vulnerable or with urgent business.
“Customers who need to report or advise their earnings so they are paid in time for the Easter break can do so via their myGov account, online accounts, Express Plus mobile apps and phone self service.
“We appreciate the community’s patience during this time and we will provide as much notice as possible of any significant service disruptions.”
Strike Action Transcripts: Department of Human Services General Manger Hank Jongen
Unfortunately, as a result of industrial action by the CPSU, there will be a full day stoppage by some staff on Monday. This will result in some disruption to Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support customers.
Of course, we will be doing everything that we can to minimize that disruption and we have a number of contingency measures in place. We are very frustrated, that the union is taking this activity at this time. It will have an effect on the most vulnerable people in our community.
I am confident however, that payments will not be disrupted and they will continue as normal. But there is no doubt there will be some inconvenience as we will have less people in our offices and less people available to answer our phones.
If the matter isn’t urgent we would ask you to think about contacting us on another day. Or better still you can use our self service options, for example you can use myGov to access your online account. You can use our Express Plus mobile apps or our phone self service, particularly if you are reporting income.
The lead up to Easter is always an extra busy time, and this strike action stretches our resources and it unfairly impacts our customers, and of course, the majority of our staff who are still working. But we have contingency arrangements in place but strike action will cause disruption and delays of customers.
It’s really frustrating that the Union is persisting with disruptive industrial action, rather than working with us towards an Agreement. This action is counterproductive and will unfairly impact Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support customers.
Because of the Industrial action we will have reduced numbers of staff and increased waiting times on Monday. We’re asking customers who do not have any urgent business to please contact us at another time or use the range of self service options that are available to do your regular business. This will enable us to free up available staff to help those who really need it most.
We’re absolutely confident that customer payments will occur as usual, and we’ll be doing our best to minimise any disruptions to services. However, because this action is being taken simultaneously across the country, we may have increased wait times because we’ll have reduced numbers of staff in our services centres and working the phones.