Union calls for action to save CSIRO jobs in Tasmania

Cuts hurt CSIROThe union representing employees at CSIRO says that eighteen Tasmanian-based positions are set to be axed, more than previously expected.

The Secretary of the CSIRO Staff Association, Mr Sam Popovski, said that formal advice provided by management to the union had identified eighteen positions as potentially redundant, with the vast majority of losses to be felt in Hobart, from CSIRO’s Marine and Atmospheric Research (CMAR) division.

CSIRO is in the processes of culling more than 200 employees across the organisation as part of a cost-saving exercise, a decision announced by management in April.

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Higher than expected

“These figures are higher than initially feared,” Mr Popovski said. “There’s no doubt this will severely reduce Tasmania’s scientific capacity.”

“It’s awful news for Tasmania. CSIRO is one of the state’s larger employers, with about 450 positions located here.

“The loss of any Tasmanian jobs is bad news for the state, but these are high-value jobs and there’s likely to be a flow on effect on families and the local community” he said.

CSIRO should investigate redeployment options

Mr Popovski said that the Staff Association would fight to ensure the affected employees received every opportunity to be redeployed within CSIRO, here in Tasmania.

“We’ve written to CSIRO management requesting that more be done to mitigate these cuts by exploring local redeployment options,” Mr Popovski said.

“The Staff Association is requesting CSIRO to provide more information on what local opportunities may exist for redeployment.”

“We are aware that there may be up to twenty new research and support positions attached to the new Research Vessel (RV) Investigator, which will replace RV Southern Surveyor in the next twelve months.

“So there may be opportunities for people to be redeployed to Investigator, should there be potential for skill and capability matching.”

“CSIRO should examine that possibility fully and work actively with the Staff Association to redeploy as many staff as possible” Mr Popovski said.

Tassie brain drain may continue

Mr Popovski said that politicians and decision makers were failing to arrest the state’s brain drain.

“We’ve seen many politicians – from the major parties to the independents – talking about the need to protect quality jobs here in Tasmania.”

“Yet, this national cost-saving exercise by CSIRO is cutting Tasmanian jobs by 4%, nearly twice the relative proportion of jobs being cut from the mainland.”

“In terms of science, Tasmania has much to offer in terms of its environmental attributes and research infrastructure.”

“But without proper workforce planning and employment opportunities, the science and research potential of the state will be wasted,” Mr Popovski said.

For more information, additional comment or to arrange an interview with Sam Popovski, contact anthony.keenan@cpsu.org.au or call 0410 330 764.

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