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

7 February 2017
Noel Towell
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.

Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support workers at the Department of Human Services will strike on six days between February 15 and February 24, but the agencies' bosses say payments will not be affected.

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.

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CPSU National Secretary Nadine Flood says the action is in response to the "continuing damage caused by senior management and the Turnbull Government, including through the stalled enterprise bargaining process and the Centrelink robo-debt crisis."

"The Turnbull Government has rightly been condemned over the Centrelink automated debt debacle, but the problems go far deeper in the Department of Human Services because of years of budget cuts and the Government's harsh and illogical public sector bargaining policy," the union leader said.

"There are 34,000 hardworking Medicare, Centrelink and Child Support staff who've gone more than three years without a pay rise as they've fought for a new enterprise agreement.

"Budget cuts and the 5,000 jobs that have been slashed from this agency also mean these workers are finding it more and more difficult to provide the quality services that the Australian public needs and deserves."

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