Human Services stands firm as union asks for strike trigger

Staff at the Department of Human Services have moved a step closer to strike action. Agency bosses are annoyed and say they’re still negotiating an agreement.

Staff at Medicare, Centrelink and other arms of the gigantic Department of Human Services could vote to go on strike.

And in a rare public comment from the bureaucracy, DHS general manager Hank Jongen has called some of the union claims in an increasingly bitter industrial dispute “outrageous” and stressed services will remain open if staff walk off the job.

“It is the CPSU that has effectively walked away from the bargaining process by initiating this action, and we will be exploring our options in this regard,” he said.

The Community and Public Sector Union applied to the Fair Work Commission today for approval to hold a ballot among its DHS members on the question of whether to take industrial action. Jongen says he’s “extremely disappointed” by the move.

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