The union representing workers at the Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) has slammed a plan to cut hundreds of jobs as part of a sweeping internal restructure.
Management have advised the CSIRO Staff Association that nearly 300 positions are expected to be lost with support roles tipped to be the hardest hit.
“These cuts are short sighted. CSIRO’s capacity to deliver the next generation of Australian innovation is becoming increasingly compromised,” Staff Association Secretary Sam Popovski said.
“If realised, this latest round of cuts will bring the total number of jobs lost to nearly 700 – more than a ten per cent reduction of the CSIRO workforce since the start of the financial year,” he said.
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CSIRO has already spent the last year shedding almost 400 jobs – through cuts to ongoing positions and non-renewal of term and contract staff – as the organisation is squeezed by a decline in private sector investment, in addition to implementing Government cutbacks.
As of 31 March 2014, total staff numbers at CSIRO fell to 6,079 – down from 6,477 positions at 30 June 2013. The additional cuts would see staff numbers fall again to approximately 5,800 – a reduction of more than ten per cent based on the 2013 head count.
“These are the deepest cuts to CSIRO in more than a decade – and there may be more pain to come in the Commission of Audit report and the Federal Budget,” Mr Popovski warned.
CSIRO is responsible for innovations that Australians depend on every day – from the ubiquitous plastic banknote to the wireless technology that connect smartphones and laptops.
The Staff Association has called on the Abbott Government to provide certainty for CSIRO by ruling out any further cuts to funding.
“This week we’ve seen the Government champion trade between Australia and Asia. But to realise the potential, local manufacturers, producers and suppliers all need to innovate,” Mr Popovski said.
“That’s why these are cuts are particularly short sighted. CSIRO is the Australian economy’s innovation engine – and it’s running on empty,” he said.