Confirming fears that they will pursue the Government’s regressive bargaining agenda, CSIRO management have used the first set of formal negotiations to reveal their intent to strip protections, rights and content from more than 50 per cent of the clauses in the current enterprise agreement.
The move to attack working conditions comes hard on the heels of the Federal Budget which slashed science funding resulting in hundreds of CSIRO job losses, deep cuts to research and site closures.
The Staff Association was represented at negotiations by Secretary Sam Popovski, President Dr Michael Borgas and National Organiser Paul Girdler. Management’s team were led by Energy Flagship Director Dr Peter Mayfield and Human Resources managers Alex Allars and Trevor Heldt.
CSIRO management signs up to aggressive, bureaucratic Government agenda
Despite serious questions hanging over the legislative basis guiding their decision, management have embraced the regressive workplace bargaining policies devised by the Government.
Management claim that CSIRO has been directed by Minister Ian Macfarlane to follow the bargaining policy, despite comments by the Minister as recently as last November that “day-to-day matters, including staffing matters, are an issue for the CSIRO.”
The approval process management intends to follow is Byzantine. Despite having delayed bargaining by many months, management still intend to seek approval for any deal from CSIRO Executive and the Board, the Industry Minister, the Public Service Commission, the Department of Finance and the Employment Minister – that’s six levels of red tape to cut through before staff even get a vote!
Over fifty per cent of agreement clauses under threat
Management have nominated some 45 clauses – from a total of 87 – where they plan to strip out protections, rights and content from the legally protected enterprise agreement and place into unenforceable internal CSIRO policy, all in the name of ‘streamlining.’
The clauses management has targeted for stripping includes outsourcing, learning and development, merit promotion, study assistance, management accountability, indigenous employment strategy, staff participation and consultation, freedom of association, childcare, accommodation changes and much, much more.
This is in addition to issues raised by management such as abolishing the annual shut down and instituting a higher test of “exceeds expectations” in order to achieve a performance and development step to attain a salary increment.
Attend a workplace meeting
This enterprise bargaining campaign is shaping up as the most important in a generation and will define CSIRO working conditions for years to come. It’s important that all Staff Association members attend workplace meetings that will be scheduled for late July – early August. Speak to your local delegate or organiser for more information.
The Staff Association stands up to CSIRO jobs and staff working conditions, but we can’t do it alone. If you’re not already a member, find out more information about joining by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.