Staff Association holds management to account over staffing “freeze”

Background – Hundreds of CSIRO staff pledge support for dispute notification.

During mid-December 2013, over 700 CSIRO staff signed a pledge to support a Staff Association dispute notification over a lack of management accountability and consultation over the implementation of the current recruitment and staffing “freeze”. There have also been questions asked in Parliament and Senate Estimates and Section Secretary Sam Popovski also responded to significant media interest over the CSIRO job cuts.


(Download a printable pdf of this bulletin for display in your workplace here)

Campaign gets some results.

The pressure from members and dispute notification has resulted in two meetings with senior CSIRO management which has now led to much more information being provided about the state of staffing in CSIRO. We now know:

–       CSIRO’s Average Staffing Level is 48 over budget (5598 vs. 5550) for 2013/14 as at 31 December 2013;

–       The recruitment and staffing “freeze” has contributed to an overall reduction of 44 staff in the first two months it has been in place (Oct/Nov 2013). It is anticipated these numbers will reduce by another 20-30 staff over Dec 2013/Jan 2014.

–       Of 180 positions put forward by Group Executives to Deputy CEO Craig Roy, 170 have been approved, 5 rejected and 5 are pending. However, what is not clear is how many and which term renewals and new positions have failed to reach the Deputy CEO, as a result of not being judged “mission critical” by Group Executives and other managers;

–       Currently, there are ~120 vacancies in CSIRO (ongoing and term), comprising of 44 vacancies that are exempt from the “freeze” (post docs and indigenous cadets/trainees) and over 70 positions that have been approved to be filled. Further, an additional 62 successful applicants have completed recruitment processes and are about to commence work.


Accountability and transparency remain a problem.

Despite the progress made by the Staff Association outlined above, the recruitment and staffing “freeze” process still lacks accountability and transparency. In particular, the CSIRO Executive is unable to outline:

–       which CSIRO sites are being impacted;

–       which areas of science/research or support are being impacted; and

–       how the interpretation of “mission critical” is being applied consistently across CSIRO, particularly with reference to science priority areas.

Only as a result of the Staff Association dispute is factual information now being extracted, which when assessed, makes the recruitment and staffing “freeze” appear somewhat of a misnomer. However, senior CSIRO management have now agreed to meet with the Staff Association on no less than a fortnightly basis to provide further information and to allow members to continue to raise issues and have them addressed.


Where to from here? Give us your views!

The CSIRO Executive will be meeting in February and as part of its agenda, determining whether or not the “freeze” process should continue. Please let us know your views and questions. Also contact us if you need immediate support. You may do so through your delegate/organiser or by emailing the Staff Association at


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