Fears of PS job cuts stir campaign

Fears of PS job cuts stir campaign

The public service union will convene a ''council of war'' in Canberra on Thursday to plan a high-profile election year campaign against Opposition Leader Tony Abbott's vow to cut public sector jobs.

The campaign by the Community and Public Sector Union will pitch directly to the prospect of the loss of government services under the scenario of thousands of public servants losing their jobs.

A frame from the CPSU's new ad campaign against Tony Abbot's plans to cut jobs from the Commonwealth public sector.

A frame from the CPSU's new ad campaign against Tony Abbot's plans to cut jobs from the Commonwealth public sector.

Photo: Supplied

The union will spearhead the push back against the Coalition with the support of the ACTU. The strategy includes a new online and social media campaign attacking the Coalition's plan to cut jobs and services.

One of the Coalition's signature policies is reducing the federal public service by 12,000 positions through natural attrition.

The union's national secretary, Nadine Flood, fears the cuts to jobs would be higher.


"There is a growing concern the Coalition could win the federal election and do massive damage to public services and workplace rights,'' she told Fairfax Media on the eve of the governing council meeting.

''Increasingly what we see coming from the Coalition is cuts that would hit Canberra agencies very, very hard.

''Public services will be at the heart of this election campaign.

''Our members and supporters will mount a robust defence against Coalition plans to cuts jobs and outsource services to the private sector with Big Society-style reforms that will only benefit large corporations.''

Ms Flood again called on Mr Abbott to ''come clean'' on the extent of public sector jobs cuts.

''One minute it is 12,000 jobs, the next he and Joe Hockey are saying how there were 20,000 too many public servants in Canberra,'' she said.

''Now their cheerleaders are urging them to cut 24,000. Either way, it's clear they have it in for the public sector.''

She said the union would work with the ACTU and other unions to promote public services as an election issue.

''We want to get the message out to 1.8 million union members around the country about what the Coalition is proposing on public services and on fair work laws and other issues for all working people,'' Ms Flood said.

She said ''extreme conservative think tanks'' such as the Institute of Public Affairs and the Centre for Independent Studies were urging Mr Abbott to make deeper cuts if he wins office.

The union's online video advertisement says the proposed Coalition job cuts represent creating an entire suburb of jobless people.

Ms Flood said the union had been lobbying the government not to make further public service job cuts in the budget in May.

''We're pushing the government to make a good decision on public sector jobs and funding in this year's budget despite the obvious revenue and spending pressures,'' she said.

''We're pleased to see government ministers acknowledging that you can't fund major new initiatives such as the national disability insurance scheme through public service savings.''

This week the union said it was alarmed the Institute of Public Affairs had discussed proposed savings with the Coalition that include cutting 24,000 ''less productive'' government jobs from ''bloated'' departments.

The Coalition warned last week an Abbott government might sack staff from the doomed Climate Change Department if they refused to take redundancies.

Ross Peake

Ross Peake is a senior reporter for The Canberra Times

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