Tasmanian child protection workers have walked off the job to protest allegedly heartless conditions.

Staff in Child Safety Services (CSS) claim they are being forced to make “impossible decisions” about vulnerable children due to a lack of resources, signing up for industrial action led by the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) and the Health and Community Services Union (HCSU).

The CPSU more staff are urgently needed, with at least 30 positions currently sitting vacant.

“Staff will no longer accept work arrangements that require them to prioritise the needs of one vulnerable child over the needs of another, because there are simply too few staff,” CPSU spokesperson Thirza White has told the ABC.

“Staff in Child Safety Services have raised their concerns with Ms Petrusma for three-and-a-half years, and despite reviews, restructures, name changes and promises of additional staff, the situation has become worse.

“Unmanagable work loads make working for CSS extremely difficult so experienced staff leave and funded positions are often left vacant for lengthy periods,” she said.

About 60 staff walked off the job this week, calling on Human Services Minister Jacquie Petrusma to “have a heart”.

Ms Petrusma said the strikes are a political move that will deter people from careers in child services.

“The union said the system was in crisis in 2013, back under the former Labor-Green Government,” she said.

“All I can say is child protection has never had as many staff, resources, recruitment and funding as what they have now.

“If they want us to recruit more staff, which we are trying to do, [their stop-work actions are] not going to send a good message to people who might be thinking about becoming child protection workers.”