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Issue #1638      May 14, 2014

WA public servants consider strike action

Since September 2013 when members of the Community and Public Sector Union Civil Service Association (CPSU/CSA) lodged their claim with the state Liberal government of Colin Barnett and began their campaign for a new General Agreement, they have not made inroads in securing a meaningful outcome to their General Agreement 6 claim.

Emperor Barnett being drawn along the May Day Parade by his public servant slaves.

The union initially proposed a 4% increase for each of three years, which they then changed in late March 2014, at a mass members meeting, to 3.5%.

After the rally at the Perth Convention Centre and lunch time stop work meetings in the Perth CBD and other parts of the state; despite the most earnest efforts of the members, the government responded by restating its original position of 2.5% and no changes to conditions.

In an effort to increase the pressure on the government to engage in meaningful negotiations to resolve the claim, the union called a meeting of its delegates to discuss options available in pursuit of their claim.

At a mass meeting of CPSU/CSA delegates called on April 29, delegates voted overwhelmingly to consider strike action to force the government to respond to their claim.

Union delegates have been directed to convene meetings in their workplaces to educate and inform members of what is in their claim. Branch secretary Toni Walkington emphasised that it was the intransigence of the government in negotiations with union representatives from the union which has pushed public servants to consider strike action.

A firm and resolute position by the CPSU/CSA is necessary not only to progress their claim, but to save their conditions and maintain their job security. The Barnett government seeks to undermine job security with legislative “reform” to the Public Sector Management Act 1992, which covers the conditions of employment under which public servants are employed.

The resolution which is being put to all CPSU/CSA members to vote upon is, “This delegates meeting resolves to ballot members on the question: Should we strike for 24 hours on May 28 in support of fair pay and conditions.”

The ballot of members opened on Monday May 5, and will be conducted on line as well as an option for a hard copy ballot.

The Communist Party of Australia supports the campaign for a well resourced and efficient public service and that those who staff the public service, should be paid a living wage.

Next article – Hazelwood Coal Mine Fire – Local inquiry sessions end

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