ABC science safe for now but facing uncertain future

abc science logoWhile Federal Government budget cuts are set to bite deep at the national broadcaster, science coverage at the ABC looks likely to emerge largely unscathed. However the long term future of ABC science programming remains under a cloud.

Prior to the recent announcement of a $254 million funding cut to the ABC, there had been speculation that science broadcasting could be in the firing line.

Fairfax Media reported in October that ABC management was “closely examining the future of Catalyst, the country’s only prime-time science program… (with) the program.. scrapped under a worst-case scenario.”

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Redundancy rights ease some pain but threats remain

With CSIRO set to shed almost one in five positions in only two years, it’s hard to imagine the jobs situation could be worse.

However the application of the Voluntary Redundancy Substitution (VRS) scheme in the current redundancy round has resulted in hundreds of CSIRO staff remaining in the organisation to continue their careers being replaced by staff who were willing to take redundancy.

Despite the success of VRS in providing a small measure of solace to a workforce wracked by job cuts, that hasn’t stopped CSIRO management targeting redundancy rights in enterprise agreement negotiations.

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Year in review

Sam Popovski reflects on a year – while dominated by severe cuts to jobs and research – also featured Staff Association members and delegates supporting each other, standing up for CSIRO and showing the way forward in 2015.

THERE’S NO POINT in denying the obvious. The past twelve months have been brutal for us in CSIRO. None of us have been immune from the impact of cuts. Trusted, passionate colleagues have been lost, important research has been discarded and hard won working conditions are threatened.

However there is cause for hope. As Staff Association President Michael Borgas reflected last year when reviewing what he described as a tumultuous 2013, “our best response to these challenges is also our greatest strength – the collective approach.”

Despite everything that has been thrown at us this year, Staff Association members and delegates have stuck together and supported each other. That’s been critical to our efforts in defending CSIRO staff in the face of Government cuts, heavy job losses and management moves to attack working conditions.

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