Tax staff's strike to hit unfair GST
by Rohan Gowland Staff of the Australian Taxation Office are considering industrial action in support of their enterprise bargaining claim. The action would slow the implementation of the GST. Michael Tull, Assistant Secretary, Tax Section, of the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) told The Guardian last Friday that the union's section council, meeting over the weekend, would decide on the plan of action. The union's original claim was for a pay rise of eight per cent per annum over the two-year agreement and absolutely no trade-offs. The Tax Office offered three per cent with a "possible" additional five per cent at a later stage and a "possible" two per cent "bonus", but, said Mr Tull, even this meagre offering had "a large number of strings attached" with the employer seeking productivity gains. The union has now claimed for six per cent per annum with no trade-offs. "We absolutely set ourselves the goal of winning a real wage increase with no trade-offs in conditions." Mr Tull said the union has gradually improved conditions, "We're pretty happy with that. Now we want to push the employers for more pay." Wage increases are always necessary in order to keep pace with the rising costs of living, however, with the GST looming, the battle is even more desperate as a wage rise of 10 per cent would effectively leave workers no better off after the GST increases their expenses.