Workplace Wrap – March 2012

In this edition – Redundancies at CMSE – Merger news and a new name for CLI / CFNS – Record Services update – New organiser for Queensland and NT – CSIRO Staff Survey.   

Redundancies at CMSE

Job cuts have hit CSIRO’s Division of Materials Science and Engineering (CMSE), with the announcement that 11 positions will be made redundant.

In an email to staff, CMSE Chief Dr Cathy Foley said the “decision has not been taken lightly and is not directly related to SIP6 funding, but is a case of CMSE’s research focus and business needs changing over time.”

Dr Foley said the decision to cut jobs came followed a process of “trying to reallocate and retrain staff in declining research areas with a view to moving them to research areas experiencing growth… However, there are some staff for whom we have been unable to identify suitable alternative ongoing roles for the foreseeable future.”

Staff seeking more information have been advised to consult this FAQ document that management have committed to updating regularly.

The difficult situation at CMSE and the regrettable loss of jobs has been mitigated, in small part, by management’s willingness to consult and implementation of a proactive retraining and redeployment strategy.

Staff Association officials will meet with Dr Foley in the coming weeks to ensure the rights and entitlements of affected staff are protected throughout the redundancy process.

Restructuring at Records Services

The proposed restructure at Records Services provides a study in contrast.
Staff Association members in Records Services have expressed serious concerns about the process and justification for the restructure, which management anticipate will result in seven (full-time equivalent) redundancies.

There are doubts whether the proposed restructure represents a genuine attempt to reclassify positions rather than a cost-cutting exercise.

The murky situation has led the Staff Association to formally request detailed information from management and an extension of the consultation period to allow staff time for informed consideration of the proposed restructure.

Watch this space.

What’s in a name?

The merger process for CLI and CFNS continues apace. Despite a rocky start, there has been significant improvement in both the consultation process and flow of information between management and the Staff Association.

In the meantime, a new name has been decided for the new division – Animal, Food and Health Sciences.

The merged CLI-CFNS will be now known as Animal, Food and Health Sciences.

CFNS Chief Martin Cole described the new name as “an accurate reflection of the science capabilities and the nature of the work within the division, (reflecting) our dual human and animal focus.”

Dr Cole also thanked staff who had been involved in the consultation process, including those who made suggestions for the new name.

It’s not clear whether the gratitude extended to the wag who proposed Food And Ruminants Team, said to be the popular choice with many staff.

New Organiser for Queensland and NT

Welcome Leanne Roche.

Leanne will commence as the Staff Association organiser for Queensland and NT later this month.

As a former CPSU organising support officer, Leanne brings solid knowledge and union experience to the role.

Congratulations and best wishes, Leanne.

Asking the big questions – CSIRO to survey staff

For the first time in five years, CSIRO will conduct an all staff survey. Consultancy firm, Towers Watson, has been commissioned to conduct the process of collecting staff views. The theme of the survey is: Working in CSIRO: What’s your experience?

Management claim the objectives of the survey which include enhancing CSIRO’s capacity to innovate, improving the consultation environment and promoting diversity and inclusion.

The Staff Association has received an assurance from management that all staff will be provided with the overall results and the specific results for their own functional area.

Based on management’s commitment to communicating the results transparently, the Staff Association supports this survey and encourages all CSIRO workers to participate in the process.

For more information on the survey, email

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