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Parliamentary staff striking to protest pay freeze

October 29, 2009
For immediate use
Parliamentary staff striking to protest pay freeze and redundancy cut

Staff at Parliament will walk off the job at 1.30pm this afternoon and strike for two hours.

They will be holding a picket by the Cenotaph at the entrance to Parliament grounds from 1.30pm to 2pm.

From 2pm to 3pm they’ll attend a stopwork meeting at PSA House.

They will hold a second picket by the Cenotaph from 3pm to 3.30pm before returning to work.

“They’re striking to protest their employer, Parliamentary Service, freezing their pay and seeking to cut redundancy payments,” says PSA assistant national secretary Jeff Osborne.

The dispute involves 170 Parliamentary staff who belong to the Public Service Association. They include security officers, library staff, reception workers, building maintenance staff, messengers and other administrative staff at Parliament.

“These workers are fed up,” says Jeff Osborne. “They’ve been trying to negotiate a new collective employment agreement since February.”

“But Parliamentary Service has imposed a pay freeze and refuses to collectively negotiate any increase in their pay.”

“Their employer is also trying to make it easier and cheaper to lay off staff by reducing their redundancy protection and the level of redundancy payments,” says Jeff Osborne.

Parliamentary Service wants to have no redundancy payment for any new staff it hires, during their first year in the job, and to reduce the maximum level of redundancy for new staff.

The strike is an escalation of industrial action that began at the start of the month when
security officers working the night shift walked off the job at 11pm on October 1 and attended an hour-long stopwork. The security officers at Parliament provide an around-the-clock service every day of the year.

Four days later the Parliamentary staff involved in the dispute walked off the job at 3pm and attended a second hour-long stopwork. They followed this up with an hour-long rally in front of Parliament on October 14.

“These workers are frustrated that after starting negotiations eight months ago and going to mediation, Parliamentary Service continues to deny them the right to negotiate their pay.”

“They’re striking to show that their determined to achieve a fair and reasonable settlement,” says Jeff Osborne.


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