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Does the Code of Conduct apply to me while I'm participating in protected industrial action?

APS Values and Code of Conduct in Practice provides advice for managers and employees in the APS about the application of the Code of Conduct and the APS Values.

Section 6.7 of the publication discusses outside employment in more detail.

If you have any questions about this article, please submit them via the form on the 'Integrity: your questions answered' page.

Industrial action is no excuse for breaching the Code of Conduct.

APS employees are free to choose whether or not to be a union member. They are also free to choose how they participate in approved union activities.

Actions taken by employees as part of protected industrial action under the Fair Work Act are not subject to the Code of Conduct. But other forms of behaviour associated with that action can be subject to the Code.

To show how this can work, an employee might be standing in a picket line outside a building as part of protected industrial action. That does not give that employee permission to abuse colleagues who cross the picket line by calling them scabs. As an APS employee, the obligation to treat people with
respect and courtesy remains even when you are participating in protected industrial action.

You also remain bound by your obligation to act honestly and with integrity. On this basis, claiming a sick day for when you were actually on strike, or lying about whether you were participating in a work ban, could also be in breach of the Code.

Industrial action in the workplace causes disruption and emotions can run hot. That doesn't excuse bad behaviour.