Staff Association to challenge Finance ‘restructure’

A management plan to restructure CSIRO’s Finance Business Unit will result in job losses and stunt career development, the Staff Association has warned.

The detailed plan – complete with a detailed organisational chart mapping the changes – was sprung on Finance staff earlier this month without prior consultation, said Staff Association National Organiser Paul Girdler.

“The plan identifies fifteen positions to be made redundant but our reading of the restructure documents suggests that many more will be affected – specifically the career paths of remaining staff who will be subject to a reduced classification profile,” Mr Girdler said.

“The Staff Association is of the view that the lack of consultation has denied staff a genuine opportunity to influence the decision or propose alternative options,” he said.

Mr Girdler said that the Staff Association had little choice other than to notify a dispute on behalf of Finance members.

Past public statements by CSIRO management concerning the future of the unit only added to the confusion, Mr Girdler said.

“Part of the reason offered or these proposed changes is that it’s all part of the post implementation review of the Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC) report of the Finance functions,” Mr Girdler said.

“Little over a year ago after PWC report broke, CFO Bennett made a commitment that substantive levels for all staff would be maintained and no reductions to staffing numbers would be made as a result of the review.

“Clearly that commitment has been broken,” Mr Girdler said.

As part of a recent resolution to a separate dispute – regarding the classification of six Finance Officers at CSOF7 – an agreement was reached that the positions would not be reassessed until 2016 at the earliest.

At the time, management claimed this would allow an opportunity to realign APA’s with CSOF7 CSIRO Work Classification Standards, provide targeted feedback to individuals and an opportunity to demonstrate performance at the required level.

The offer was accepted by all six individuals and the dispute was resolved on the basis that there would not be any subsequent or new process that unfairly targets them or their employment.

“Now – less than six months on – all six of these officers have had their positions specifically identified as potentially redundant as part of this restructure,” Mr Girdler said.

“Again the commitment given by the CFO has not been kept,” he said.

Mr Girdler said that he had requested a meeting with CEO Megan Clark to resolve this dispute, but if that proved unsuccessful the Staff Association may seek to refer to the independent umpire, Fair Work Australia.

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