Centrelink and Medicare workers to walk off job on Monday 288



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Public service announcement: Department of Human Services staff will walk off the job on Monday morning.

The rumour was confirmed on 3AW with Ross and John yesterday by Nadine Flood, national secretary of the Community and Public Sector Union.

In what will be an hour-long disruption to services, workers from Centrelink, Medicare and Child Services will strike over their collective bargaining agreement.

Ms Flood told the radio hosts that further government departments would follow next week and they were unhappy with how they were being treated.

If you are planning to go to Medicare or Centrelink on Monday, you can expect delays around lunchtime as staff will not be assisting.

“We do expect there will be some delays around lunch time queues,” Ms Flood said.

“These staff are proud of the work they do. They don’t want to disrupt the community but they’re facing a pretty vicious attack on their rights and conditions”.

When asked why the staff were doing this and hadn’t the new budget outlined a pay increase for Department of Human Services workers, Ms Flood said absolutely not.

“The federal government have stripped half of the workers’ rights out of existing agreements”. She said that the pay off will be less than 1 per cent.

It’s unfortunate that members of the community will be put out by a strike, especially those who require immediate assistance, however, with millions of Australians requiring the service, it seems we will just have to accept it if we want fairness to trickle down to us.

Time will tell if the striking is effective and the staffs’ concerns are listened to.


Tell us, were you planning on going to Centrelink or Medicare tomorrow? Has this changed your plans? Is striking effective?

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  1. Go you

    1 REPLY
    • Plenty of people out of work needing a job would be more than willing to replace these workers ..that’s what would happen in the private work place

      1 REPLY
      • I agree with Marilyn Beck.
        I you don’t want to work there is plenty more that will take the job gladly

  2. We wouldn’t be put out if they didn’t strike. They are getting a pay rise should be greatful. As for cutting staff, well I have been in their offices and people have been standing around talking while a dozen or so people have been waiting, also sometimes I have been in and waiting 4 or more in office, next thing 2 leave so have to wait longer.

    23 REPLY
    • Often people have to leave as health and safety require they take a break, you see this in supermarkets too where staff are sent off despite queues as they are over due breaks.

      1 REPLY
      • Barbara Easthope. Supermarkets know their busy times, employ more people to cover breaks or bring in somebody from the storeroom or take people off stacking shelves, easy!

    • Judith I’m also against strikes, but I have. Friend who works at a Centerlink office and if you knew the crap that they have to put up with from some people also the threats of violence, because ” they” don’t get what ” they” want, or think that” they” are initial to, I’m not surprised they are going on strike

      1 REPLY
      • You get that in many Jobs Can’t take the heat get out & let someone who can

    • What you have mentioned is not things that are the responsibility of the Government, it is up to the offices to higher security or have their staff out of harm, the Government is not responsible for the rude, bad behaved public…..to much is put on the Government, maybe that is why there is no money…..

    • No I haven’t but I do have an opinion about what I believe is not the Governments responsibility, it is up to their high rarcky to make their staff safe.

      1 REPLY
      • No it is not Judith. The layout of the offices is dictated from Canberra and the funding for fitout also comes from there. Local management don’t have a lot of say about any of that. But they do have a say about the use of staff and who is where at what time. No need for queues.

    • We have no idea of the circumstances, when discussions take place. OHS breaks MUST be adhered to. There are deadlines to be met. It is so easy to criticise, and become totally self centred without knowing what else is occupying the staff………………..

    • I sat & waited to be served in C’link Hobart 22 minutes. It takes1 staff member on average 7 minutes to process i medicare claim. I worked the counter in MBF years ago and our average would have been about 1 minute per claim

    • Never go to Centrelink & reverse pay Medicare at the doctors,so really don’t care,but government jobs are cushy,very different to private enterprise….

    • I know someone who left a government job because the work they gave her to do in a week she finished in 2 days. Said she was so bored

    • Judith Forbes of course your entitled to your opinion, but at least get educated when you say things on here, Centrelink DHS is run by the Commonwealth governement and everything including the secuirty in the offices down to the pens we use has to be passed by them. Now who is the Commonwealth Governement? Here is a tip think Canberra,.. my boss is Tony Abbott and every one else from the CEO down needs the government of the day approval to do anything or change anything. The broom is sweeping so you should be happy. As for some other remarks on here I can tell you have no idea and just head along with the other sheep who p have to bag everyone or everything with out knowing what you are mouthing on about, wont you all be rapt should all your services go overseas.

    • Well, well, well Beri Vera, I do know what Government is which, please give me some credit, also yes I am in titled to my opinion and I will be continuing with them too. I am not a sheep thank you very much, I think for myself. I do not mouth off about anything, I give an opinion, like it or lump it. No I would not like every thing to go overseas at ALL. I just believe that most Government departments have to much spent on them and they squeal too much when the Government wants to take some of it away…..they can not see past their own noses….my opinion and that is that.

    • Dawn Bruce, are you saying you actually visit Centrelink and the staff ‘don’t hurry themselves’ or is it just the immense amount of poetic license you grant yourself with every comment you ever make ?

    • I am always amazed at how public servents believe that they have a very tough job and yes it is difficult dealing with the public, you will never get an argument from me about that. But over many years I have known staff that have come from a public servent’s job into the private enterprise sector and they do find it very difficult, many do change their opinion about the difference between the two, some have actually admitted that they finally realised how lucky they were working in a public service job.

    • I think they have an awful job, but they treat everyone like 2nd class citizens. I feel sick everytime I have to go there, luckily not often now

    • They ate enritled to a break. Their stress levels depend on this. How do you know they are not discussing a case if “they ate standing around talking”?


    • I guess you’d need to take that issue up with your State Government and your respective union.

    • Get a job , Judith Forbes ! And then neither centrelink staff or us tax payers have to listen to your pissing and moaning bullshit ! Really ?

    • Get a life you fool you have no idea about the job or the issues = perhaps your attitude is the problem

  3. How else can their voices.he heard after trying all other means. I have always received wonderful customer service whenever I have had dealings with Centrelink.

  4. Alice Jones, what has the diet site got to do with this article??

    3 REPLY
    • Nothing at all Margaret . If you go to HIS page it is a scam , I try to report these to admin straight away – they are a pain in the neck but must catch some people or they would not keep doing it.

  5. The workers are very fortunate to have jobs at all. Many unemployed are searching for positions because many companies are going through restructuring in the workplace.

    9 REPLY
    • Anybody who has a job should be grateful, but the conditions and salaries of those in work shouldn’t be eroded just because they a lucky enough to have jobs. We don’t need to be like the U.S. where they have ‘working poor’ people who despite doing a full weeks work get paid so little they are reliant on welfare and charities.

      1 REPLY
      • Absolutely Barbara. This is the most valid comment I have read so far

    • Why don’t you try doing their job for a day. Or are you happier just being one of their abusive clients?

    • Yes maybe so but their are too many blushing single mothers who don’t want to work and spend their lives bluffing off the govt. they don’t give two hoots about their children as they are just an extra money source

    • In my comments I am not referring to single parents, but the mature over 30 and 40 and 50 year old who by no fault of their own are caught in this situation

    • Wendy Biden you really do not like single mothers, do you??
      I was a single mother after I divorced my first husband & I can assure you it is not the cruisey bit fun you are making it out to be!

    • I agree Jane Whitfield, not all single mums are young blushing mums who dont want to work, but just want to bludge off the government. I had no choice but to become a single mum in my 30s, because of my abusive ex.

    • Yes, they are lucky to have jobs but they probably worked hard at looking for a job…some people do nothing.

  6. There seems to be a view that they have an easy job but I can tell you that it is not easy and they are not fortunate to be dealing constantly with people either in distress and needing assistance or on the other end of the scale lazy and selfish individuals who think they have a right to be supported by Government. I say spend a day in the shoes of a Centrelink employee and see what you think then!

    17 REPLY
    • Linda
      And if they didn’t work there where would you suggest they work. You should be grateful that people are prepared to work in these jobs and service your needs.

    • I have seen the way those greedy little ungrateful unmarried mothers behave when their “pay” has not gone into their accounts

    • hi Helen..like any workplace whether government or private and I had worked in both there are the ones that work hard all day every day and their a minority that are lazy…but I don’t agree with Judith Forbes…I once worked in what was social security in those days in Alice Springs in 1980..I was a temp and asked to stay on but in the 6 weeks I was there I had witnessed so much abuse to the staff there was no way I wanted to…its a very hard job…your dealing with people’s emotions a lot of the time…when people are facing hardship, it is hard for them to understand why they have to wait, your only doing your job and within the guidelines you have been set…eg. my sister lost her husband in 2001 in Tassy we went to the local centrelink…was givena number and waited..instead of taking my sister in a room to talk to her about her personal situation she had to tell her details in front of everyone near the desk…I then requested a separate room and we were accommodated but it shouldn’t be that way…this is an internal process that needed addressing..its not the staffs fault they are working in difficult situations its the governments fault for not recognising the needs of their staff…on my part I cannot speak highly enough of the staff I went to see…my health took a turn for the worse in 2009 I went to centrelink not knowing anything I was told I couldn’t do anything face to face I had to ring up and book an appointment..so I went home and did that after being on the phone so so long got an appointment date for 2 weeks time..i was lucky I had a couple of hundred dollars to see me through but many people haven’t or are not in that position, however when I did go and I was very very ill mind you I struggled up the stairs the gentleman came out to call me took one look at me and said ‘you don’t look like you should be here’…he said I will make this quick as possible and help you fill in the paperwork..he was kind and caring and treated me well…out of about a handful of people I dealt with only one lady was rude. I am afraid..i was cut off I went to see them and she said I hadn’t lodged my format xmas time….I said I am certain I did on this date..she became defensive and said fill this out now or you wont get paid…I didn’t want to argue I was so sick so I just started to fill it out..she was doing something on the computer and next thing she said oh oh don’t know what has happened but now I can see you have already its come up on the screen now…oh well fill it in still..but there was no apology…but as I say that was one person in half a dozen. I think you all do an amazing job under very difficult circumstances…I don’t know if striking is the answer as the public may suffer but I do believe you need to somehow get through to the government about your situation..I hope it works out for you all…best of luck

    • Anyone working in any field dealing with human’s emotions, be it public or private domain, has to deal with each & every person, to the best of their ability within set rules & regulations. They’re the first ones to cop any “untoward behaviours” from some members of the public! When gov’t dep’t heads decide to close nearby offices, usually 20 minutes drive away, & the next available ones are an hours drive away, then that’s more than enough cause for complaint to the dep’t, but not take it out on the “staff”! To go on “strike” is a last resort!!

    • ^ agree Peta see how the Abbott Govt has created yet another set of people to target. His record with women is appalling anyway, so why are we surprised! Juxtapose his recent glorification of Rose Batty which immediately silenced her, and has made her beholden to him! He is a very wily character and is a flat out Misogynist. Next he will be telling us to cover up!

    • Millions would not agree with you, Gillard has set the world back years with her “take ” on women. Never seen PM , treat any woman badly . You would prefer Shorten, the accused rapist, hasn’t been found not guilty yet, wouldn’t go to court , so will always be doubt. Rudd was told about this years ago and did NOTHING, covered it up. What has Rose Batty got to do with this . Why is his record appalling , what do you all think he did, This is a post about Centrelink not about peoples choice of political party., or leader.

    • Dawn Centrelink is a government agency and therefore subject to the policies of the day. Gutter politics is not something worth commenting on!

    • I agree with you Dawn…and misogynist tag is extremely unfair and untrue Robina. It was meant as a cruel barb to target Abbott consistently and work with the public to reduce Abbott’s popularity. It was nasty politics and revealed how ineffective Gillard and Rudd were in their roles as leaders of a party almost defunct without the Greens and minority support. It was a sad and expensive era in politics for which our children will continue to pay for!

    • Don’t act like you are doing people a favour by doing a job you are paid for feel sorry for people who are being looked down on because they are disadvantaged.

    • i can not beleive how very rude & crude some of you are….try a bit of compassion…walk in someone else’s shoes?? are you perfect…Dawn & Peta?? where are you from??

    • Thank you Helen. I spent 10 years working for Centrelink and those that think it is an “easy” job need to do it for one day and see the sort of abuse, both verbal and physical, staff are subjected to.

    • The Pensioners are saying this to the Politicians for years to live on our income for a week or even a months. But not one of them has the Courage to try this challenge. So how can they make a Decision if they have no Idea how people on wages or other low income have to survive?.

  7. How often do we read on here about how much better the old days were then tiday is.
    Well, back in the 60’s and 70’s Centrelink (Dept of Social Security) were only open from 9am to 4pm 5 days a week.
    Now your whinging because they are going to fight for tgeir rights for one hour. They are available 7 days a week and 12 hours a day and the majority of the enquiries are done over the phone or the internet. Plus they take abuse from clients on a daily basis. They are assulted by drug addicts and alcoholics and peopke with mental issues.
    They are not paid to take the abuse or trearment they get.
    So instead of whinging about them taking one hour to attend a meeting, try being thankful for the work they do.
    Judith Forbes
    It would seem your occasional visits to one office in particular were not to your liking. Tgat doesn’t mean every office or employee are like that. Perhaps you should look at your attitude towards the staff and see if maybe you are the one at fault.

    2 REPLY
  8. I say to all the people who work at Centrelink/Medicare. If it was not for the other side of the counter you would be unemployed. There would be many who would love your jobs.

    2 REPLY
    • Why don’t you try doing their job for a day. Or are you happier just being one of their abusive clients?

    • Really Denise? From my vantage point, as a Centrelink customer, I don’t think so! Sometimes, I have to wait 2-3 hours before my turn comes, & in that time I observe the rest in the waiting room, & noticed that majority hasn’t got the patience to wait, let alone be a “customer service officer”! I finally got to see one, a greenhorn, who kept on apologising for being new in the job, and, i ended up “navigating” the maze for him. Felt sorry for the poor fellow, he thought it was a “thankless job”, & wants to go back to his old job @ the tax office!

  9. All Govt work conditions SHOULD be brought into line with other workers. They have been on the gravy train too long.

    6 REPLY
    • Why don’t you try doing their job for a day. Or are you happier just being one of their abusive clients?

    • The “gravy train” is the domain of the TOP Public Servants, in Canberra & in other States/Territories, who remain “faceless” & sits behind the desk, 7-8 hours/day, 5 days/week, enjoying subsidised meals! Those ones servicing the public at large doesn’t share such luxuries, having to cut short their tea & meal breaks just to finish all the paperwork!

    • What rubbish Floriana, they are paid for every second they work and get time off in lieu for any extra hours!

      1 REPLY
      • Having worked at Centrelink I think the staff are grossly underpaid for both the complexity of their work and the abuse and physical danger they face in their workplace. During one six month period I was abused verbally on a daily basis, threatened with a syringe filled with HIV infected blood, told that I would be followed home and my dogs killed, my colleagues were told the same about their children, sometimes their children were bullied and harassed in school because of where their parents worked. I also worked through lunch breaks and after the office closed to keep my paperwork up to date. There was little support from higher management if we complained about the abuse – we were expected to keep on serving people who were spitting at us with a smile – how many of you could do this, let alone put up with it? If people are standing around talking they are often discussing complex cases, not standing around chatting.

        The pay rise they are being offered is in effect a cut in pay and conditions.

        I can tell you that many of the unemployed do not have the skills to do this work and many of the rest would refuse to do it. Contrary to public opinion, workers are not paid for every minute at work and do not receive subsidised meals.

    • Where are you getting your information from? which department do you work for, and what do you know about the demograffics and diversity of each department that has to fit in with the legislation of the day ,so that all the departments as you say come into line and work the same way as other workers? Is Dept of Infrurstruction the same as DHS or Dept Finance? at least clarify what your commenting on and a gravy train? what is a gravy train? people being paid to work? people having conditions to make it bearable and enjoyable to spend 7.37 to 15 hours aday, 5 days a week, some leaving home at 5.30am? and what do other workers get? my daughters double my wage in private enterprise along with their perks,I wish I got what they do, but I also would not like to work in their industry. And yes we sit behind a computer for hours at time, that is how our job is done, but if we get it wrong just like anywhere else there are repercussions. I have previously worked in factory, hospitality, retail and corporate, all jobs have their challlenging processes, aged care and nursing is propbably the most difficult, but like in our job most of the time very satisfying and people chose to be there, if your complaining about your job then you should not be there, my opinion is that everyone in every industry deserves fair pay and conditions, and that makes it worthwhile for those looking for work to know that the conditions across the board will be up held, thats what the fight is for, the future fo all workers government and private.

    • Welcome to the older Generation (65 and over) retired workers world. We had a lot of times long periods of strikes to get better conditions and pay also holidays and sick leave. All our savings spent to pay rent and food, health insurance and the rest. Bang here went our deposit for our new house. We did not get any help from the Governmen. Six weeks on strike is a long time for not getting any income, two days before the six weeks were up the government agreed to the demand of the electric Union only so the workers had no wright to put in for unemployment. Was all worked out and a lot of people lost there jobs and houses. What we have (pensioners) we worked and scrimped very hard. So I know how a lot of young people feel.

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