Union calls for CSIRO to act on bullying report

The union representing employees at CSIRO has welcomed the release of the first report of the independent investigation into bullying, harassment and unreasonable behaviour – and called on Chief Executive Dr Megan Clark to implement all of the recommendations.

The first phase of the independent investigation – conducted by Emeritus Professor Dennis Pearce AO – has made 34 recommendations to the CSIRO to tackle bullying and harassment in the workplace. 110 former and current staff made submissions to the review. HWL Ebsworth has made the report available on their website, and we have provided direct links at the bottom of this page. 

The Pearce inquiry has determined that while the organisation needs to become more proactive in dealing with allegations of unreasonable behaviour, there is no evidence to suggest the problem is widespread or systematic.

However the report did conclude that the responsibility for dealing with bullying issues needed to shift from the individual staff member to CSIRO management.

CSIRO Staff Association Secretary Sam Popovski welcomed the report’s findings.

“The Staff Association expects the CSIRO Executive to adopt all of the recommendations and implement them thoroughly, including proper consultation with staff and their representatives.

“We’re in the process of analysing the report in detail and will meet with executive management early next week to communicate the views of our members and discuss the implementation of the recommendations.

“I want to thank everyone who had the courage to make a personal submission. Speaking out is often very difficult but breaking the silence is a very important contribution to improving workplace culture,” he said.

Mr Popovski said that while the Pearce Inquiry has determined that the CSIRO is not a ‘toxic’ workplace, it was clear from the report’s recommendations that there is plenty of room for improvement.

“The Staff Association has said consistently that the allegations and subsequent independent investigation into bullying and harassment should serve as a wake up call to CSIRO management.

“Policy and procedures need to be improved and made fairer. Managers and Human Resources staff need to be more accessible to staff and more responsive.

“The organisation as a whole needs to take greater responsibility in resolving – not avoiding – conflict between individuals before it has a chance to escalate, he said.

“There also needs to be greater transparency regarding the outcome of investigations into alleged bullying, harassment and unreasonable behaviour, including when these allegations are made against managers,” he said.

Mr Popovski said that the Staff Association would continue their existing education campaign to improve workplace culture at CSIRO and support employees with confidential advice, assistance and representation – while respecting the privacy of individuals.

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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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