A recent dispute between the Staff Association and CSIRO management in the Finance area has highlighted the inequity of the provisions of Clause 41 of the Enterprise Agreement. This provision provides for a five yearly performance review, which can result in a CSOF7 or 8 staff member being reverted (declassified) to the level below. While following this dispute, the Staff Association was successful in overturning the reversion of six Finance staff from CSOF7 to CSOF6, the process has inevitably raised the questions: Why is there a five yearly review for staff at these classification levels? Why isn’t the APA process sufficient for staff at all levels?
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A historical anomaly?
Of course, this issue has a history. For many years, to attain CSOF7 or 8, staff could be offered ‘term promotion’ contracts, many for 3 years, and were reverted at the completion of the contract unless renewal was offered. Two agreements ago, this was changed so these staff would instead have a five yearly review at CSOF7 or 8. While this outcome was far from ideal, it was an improvement for staff subject to term promotions, such as those in Finance.
Is it now time to remove this outdated and inequitable process?
Should we take the next step and have the same rules apply to all classifications, by abolishing the five yearly review provisions in the next Enterprise Agreement? All staff are annually assessed through the APA process in any case, so the five yearly review seems unnecessary and draconian. It can also place a large amount of work and stress on staff and provide opportunities for CSIRO management to cut classifications and costs by attempting to revert staff, including when their performance has not being questioned before.
But what happens if work is no longer required at the CSOF7 or 8 level to justify the position? Isn’t it better to have staff reverted, than being made potentially redundant?
All ongoing CSIRO staff have the capacity to be redeployed to the CSOF level below in the event that their position becomes redundant. So this infrequent circumstance is already covered. There is no need for a five yearly review and potential reversion process for CSOF7s and 8s to deal with this.
What do you think? Please let us know!
The Staff Association is seeking membership feedback on this issue. Let us know what you think by commenting below, or by sending an email to email@example.com
What if I’m not a Staff Association member?