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Centrelink, Medicare warns customers of 'disruptions' as public servants strike

7 February 2017
West Coast Sentinel

Centrelink is warning customers of disruption next week as public servants at the welfare agency prepare for days of strike action over a three-year pay dispute and the controversial "robo-debt" program.
But the department's main workplace union, the CPSU, says public servants trying to resolve disputes caused by Centrelink's controversial "robo-debt" recovery policy will not be walking off the job.

Centrelink staff to strike against ‘ideological attack’ by government

6 February 2017
The New Daily

Centrelink staff will launch two weeks of targeted industrial action over the Turnbull government’s “ideological attack” on the Department of Human Services.
CPSU spokesman Dermot Browne said the government was warned “years ago” by union members that the automated debt system was going to backfire, but pushed ahead anyway.

Centrelink staff to strike over debt scandal, budget cuts and pay

6 February 2017
The Guardian

Union says problems ‘far deeper’ than welfare agency’s controversial automated debt recovery system.
“Our members are doing this because they care about the quality of the services they provide, which is why workers dealing with sensitive clients such as those being dragged through the robo-debt crisis will not be taking industrial action,” [the CPSU rep] said. “These workers are among the lowest paid in the commonwealth public sector and stand to lose the most under the government’s harsh public-sector bargaining policy."

Bass Labor MP Ross Hart concerned by Centrelink online compliance system

29 January 2017
The Examiner

Bass Labor MP Ross Hart says his office is doing the work of Centrelink staff, assisting constituents with contesting and resolving letters sent to them from Centrelink demanding repayments of welfare.
Mr Hart said that his office has 21 Centrelink complaints on file that his staff are working to resolve, with “many more” complaints in the past two weeks.
Mr Hart added that he is concerned for Centrelink staff who are struggling to deal with the situation.

Whistleblower or misguided luddite? Centrelink rejects serious allegations

19 January 2017
The Mandarin

Centrelink says concerns reportedly emanating from some of its staff — via their union and a left-leaning activist group — are the result of misunderstanding the complexity of the welfare system and personal disagreements with policy and technological change.
In response to the most serious allegations since the “#notmydebt” campaign began to push back against the agency’s letters asking people to clarify differences between information about past welfare payments and tax data, spokesperson Hank Jongen implies that some employees either don’t understand or don’t agree with how the system works.


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