First cuts to jobs and research, now management targets working conditions

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.

Join today

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

6 thoughts on “First cuts to jobs and research, now management targets working conditions

  1. Can you comment on what is being offered by CSIRO management in return?
    Was there any reaction or response to the Staff Association’s log of claims?

  2. Respect the Science? It does not appear as if our Federal Government is really cognisant of the fact that without the “due diligence of the great work done by the CSIRO that we will really maintain our position as “the smart country”. Without the good work of our most capable scientific minds we will obviously not advance as well as we have.

  3. Great savings could be made by outsourcing the current management that give themselves large bonuses for “streamlining” the organisation. The management accountability sounds like they are reducing their responsibilities to more fall in line with their current ability to manage. Where I am currently working we have no drinking water due to the maintenance not being done properly and the water fountains have been found to be contaminated with legionella. We have been waiting since before December of last year for an outcome but no one seems to be interested or being held responsible and as an organisation they want to be the employer of choice. What a joke.

    • Let’s have some mutual respect here. If you’ve got personal issues with these people then sort them out with them in private.

      Remember that they are fellow CSIRO staffers trying to do their job in their field. Both of these people work in a very difficult and stressful area of industrial relations and are undoubtedly as stressed out and challenged in their work as the rest of us in these uncertain and difficult times.

      Whilst we should not hesitate to stand up for ourselves in the industrial bargaining process, discourtesy or bad behaviour will not assist us to achieve a fairly bargained result. Try logic and properly reasoned argument not abuse!


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