The opposition has come out in support of the civil disobedience campaign of Department of Human Services' staff saying it's an "entirely predictable response" to the Abbott government's unfair stance towards pay negotiations.
The opposition's employment spokesman Brendan O'Connor and human services spokesman Doug Cameron said the government's public sector workplace bargaining policy did not have the sophistication needed to boost the public service's productivity, in a joint statement.
"The Abbott Government has reduced collective bargaining to an adversarial zero-sum game epitomised by confrontation, cost-cutting and extreme ideology," the statement said.
"[The] cruel and aggressive anti-worker industrial agenda will not assist the public service to meet increasing demands on government service delivery and it will not recognise the contribution of public servants who perform complex and demanding tasks on a daily basis."
The opposition said Prime Minister Tony Abbott was using the department, Australia's biggest employer of public servants, and the defence force "as a vehicle to revive Work Choices".
"We are now witnessing a return to the bad old days when the blunt instruments of take-it-or-leave-it wage cuts, attacks on working conditions and threats of job cuts resulted in tit-for-tat industrial action," the statement said.
"History shows that this approach simply squanders real opportunities for improved productivity."
They said the government should change its approach to enterprise bargaining to improve the capability of front-line staff to make decisions and provide services and advice to citizens rather than "crude cost-cutting".
"The Prime Minister should stop worrying about how many workers he can sack and begin bargaining in good faith."