Member action wins Fair Work hearing, strike ordered to cease by 9:00pm tonight

Arbitration and resolution a step closer

What you need to know

  • Strong protected industrial action has received fantastic participation by members across the Department standing together
  • Member action wins Fair Work Hearing after Department forced to act
  • Members must cease PIA by 9:00 AEST pm tonight (30/09), by order of FWC
  • Department has applied to Fair Work Commission for relief in form of suspension
  • CPSU will be arguing for a termination of bargaining instead of simply suspending industrial action as this means arbitration and a resolution
  • Fair Work Commission has made an interim order suspending action pending the full hearing of this matter from next Wednesday
  • Members need to return to work as normal as soon as practicable.

Watch: CPSU National Secretary Nadine Flood's video from FWC:

Action strongly supported and effective

CPSU members across the Department have been taking strong action by standing together to defend your rights and livelihoods. All areas of operations have been impacted. No one can deny that when you stand together and take action that you are not effective. Because you are. Taking action is not easy, with an impact on your pay and your families and all members taking action are to be congratulated.

Thank you to those members exempt from taking action on security and safety grounds as well. Your membership and support even when you can’t take action makes a huge difference to those that can and do. A huge thank you to all our delegates who have been working tirelessly to support members taking action.

Member action wins Fair Work Hearing – resolution via arbitration a step closer

Member action has forced the Department to seek relief from PIA. They want suspension, members want resolution. With the Government refusing to negotiate, after nearly three years of action and fighting off cuts to pay, rights and conditions, the only means left to members was to take the strongest possible action to bring this dispute to a head. We are a step closer to achieving this now.

What this means right now is that all PIA is to cease by 9:00pm AEST tonight (30/09) – keep reading for further background and advice.

Strike action in dispute

Over the last week the Department has taken a number of steps to avoid going to Fair Work, including new requirements which CPSU considered may unlawfully impede the right of CPSU members to take protected industrial action and seeking further exemptions from PIA. We have maintained that the Department and the Government have Fair Work Act options for dealing with concerns about the impact of PIA. Today they’ve had to use these.

DIBP seek relief from PIA in Fair Work Commission

At midday today DIBP lodged an application to the Fair Work Commission to suspend CPSU Protected Industrial Action. In line with our communicated strategy endorsed by CPSU workplace leaders, delegates and membership meetings, CPSU will instead argue to have our action terminated rather than suspended, so this bargaining charade can end in DIBP.

If action is terminated this will trigger a compulsory 21 day FWC supervised negotiation period followed by arbitration of any unresolved claims by a FWC Full Bench. Arbitration was never our preferred outcome but in the absence of the Government negotiating a fair and reasonable EA, and after three years of trying, at least arbitration will finally provide a resolution for DIBP workers.

Fair Work Commission orders immediate interim suspension

The Department has applied for two orders; an immediate interim suspension of action on grounds of its impact and potential risks and a longer suspension in final orders. FWC has tonight:

  • Made an interim order suspending all action from 9:00 pm tonight (30/09) and requiring CPSU and the Department are to take all reasonable immediate steps to notify members to cease PIA
  • Determined that the substantive matter, including the issue of suspension vs arbitration, will be heard on Wednesday next week

Advice for members

All members are advised that all PIA is suspended from 9:00pm (AEST) tonight (Friday 30th September).

Members should not commence taking any action before 9:00 pm.

For members who have commenced taking action – you need to:

  • Cease taking action at 9:00(AEST) pm tonight, or earlier if able AND
  • Report to normal rostered duty:

- at 9:00 pm or,

- earlier if able, or,

- if you are practically unable to return to work at 9:00 pm (if rostered on at this time) at the commencement of your next rostered work period, OR

- as soon as possible during the work period you are rostered to work from 9:00 pm tonight.

For members who have notified a period of PIA in advance that extends beyond 9:00 pm (AEST) tonight, you are required to take all reasonable and practicable steps to report to duty at the next work period commencing on or after 9:00 pm that you would normally be working.

CPSU has sought and received agreement from the Commonwealth in Fair Work that members who for whatever reason have not received notice or are unable to immediately return to duty will not be penalised. The Department will need to tread carefully in this matter.

Please note: It is important that all members receiving this notice take all reasonable and practicable steps to report for duty they are normally rostered to attend from 9:00 pm (AEST) tonight (30/09).

We will keep members updated as matters progress.

Yours in Unity

Rupert Evans | Deputy National President 

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