Off on the wrong foot
Management’s failure to adequately consult staff on the CLI/CFNS amalgamation is the latest example of poor staff consultation at CSIRO and may be in breach of the Enterprise Agreement. It’s a poor way to begin the process.
Download the printable PDF bulletin for distribution or display in your workplace here.
Since late last year, your Staff Association has requested information about the proposed amalgamation of the Divisions of Livestock Industries (CLI) and Food and Nutritional Sciences (CFNS). This included a specific request to establish a clear consultation process to consider any proposed changes.
HR management finally got around to crafting a response – on the last working day before Christmas – however their email evaded and/or failed to answer a number of the questions requested by CLI/CFNS members. Management also refused to provide information which outlined a risk assessment of the proposed amalgamation.
Tellingly, HR management’s response came only after the amalgamation decision had been finalised and broadcast to staff.
Why genuine consultation matters
Consulting with staff and their unions prior to making a decision allows staff to raise issues and provides the opportunity for management to address concerns – potentially by changing or improving the decision. Put simply, prior consultation gives staff a say and improves the quality of decision making.
It’s also an important part of the CSIRO Enterprise Agreement (EA). Clause 57 (l) of the EA states in part:
“Consultation facilitates informed decision making, particularly on matters that affect the employment of staff and provides officers and their representatives with a genuine opportunity to influence the decision maker.”
By consulting with staff after key decisions were made in relation to the CFNS/CLI amalgamation, HR management has in effect, denied staff this genuine opportunity.
As a result of the failure to adequately consult, the Staff Association has notified a dispute under the dispute settlement procedures contained in the EA.
This is not a decision that has been taken lightly. Staff Association representatives met with HR management as recently as last December to provide examples of poor consultation in CSIRO. It’s now clear that our concerns fell on deaf ears.
It’s important to note that this dispute is not about the desirability of the amalgamation or about the management of the new division. This is about the right of staff and their unions to have a genuine say before decisions are determined at CSIRO.