STRIKE: Centrelink, Medicare customer delays likely

UPDATE: 

CUSTOMERS are facing longer wait times for services at Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support as mass strikes take place today. 

The Department of Human Service says the industrial action won't affect payments, but the major union behind the strikes says it intends to disrupt services. 

Workers at the three departments are protesting against a three-year freeze on pay rises.

The Community and Public Sector Union says the 'rolling strikes', scheduled for between 1.30pm and 8.30pm today, are designed to maximise the impact on services.

The timing gives each worker has the flexibility to choose the best time to strike, to maximise pressure on senior managers and bosses, the union says.  

That means customers accessing services will likely face delays.

EARLIER: 

ROLLING strikes will take place today as Child Support, Medicare and Centrelink staff at attempt to resolve a long-running fight over pay. 

Today's strikes will likely be followed by more industrial action in the coming weeks and months, if the dispute plaguing thousands of workers can't be resolved. 

The strikes will take place between 1.30pm and 8.30pm, the Community and Public Sector Union says.

The union agreed in February to hold off taking fresh industrial action and continue negotiations with the Fair Work Commission. 

"This protracted dispute had gone on for far, far too long. It's bad for people working in Medicare, Centrelink and Child Support, it's bad for their families and it's bad for the essential services our members in DHS provide," CPSU National Secretary Nadine Flood said.

"That's why our members are going back on strike.

"Thousands of DHS workers have been stuck in this dispute for more than three years without a pay rise.

"We're talking about part-time working mums on around $40,000 a year who are doing it really tough. 

"All they want to do is hold on to rights and conditions that have been in place for many years and allow them to balance their working and family lives."  


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