With morale at record lows and job insecurity rife in the face of hundreds of staff cuts, CSIRO management have revealed a plan to make it easier, quicker and cheaper to sack employees.
Management dropped the bargaining bombshell during the second round of negotiations with the Staff Association for a new CSIRO enterprise agreement. In addition to the extraordinary attack on redundancy conditions, salary progression will also be targeted by management – all straight from the Federal Government’s playbook to strip workplace rights, cut conditions and drive down pay.
Unprecedented attack on redundancy conditions
Despite Government budget cuts resulting in hundreds of job losses at CSIRO, management have ignored the plight of staff and responded by callously targeting redundancy conditions and protections. Plumbing new depths in negotiations, CSIRO management revealed their desire to:
- Reduce the redeployment period to one month – cutting four weeks worth of redundancy pay
- Slash the formal written notification period by four weeks – cutting another four weeks of pay
- Introduce an ‘early exit’ option – without compensation
- Cut both the access and amount of income maintenance and scrap retention provisions
- Exclude applicable casual service from redundancy calculations
- Strip the legally protected independent review mechanism and replace it with unenforceable policy.
Putting the chokehold on CSIRO salaries
In what appears the first of two-pronged assault on pay, management have argued that salary progression for CSIRO employees should only occur in exceptional circumstances.
Management have proposed that Annual Performance Agreements (APA) be radically overhauled. Currently if CSIRO staff participate and satisfy the requirements of their APA within the required timeframe, advancement to a higher performance and development step (if available) should be approved.
The concept of fair and reasonable expectation of salary progression – based on meeting agreed standards – is proposed to go. Instead advancement will only be available to those that staff rated as having ‘exceeded’ expectations. This opens the door to subjectivity, unfairness and CSIRO potentially abusing the system to keep salary costs down.
Time on pay keeps ticking away
The other front on pay relates to the delaying tactics CSIRO management have employed throughout the bargaining process. The Staff Association’s modest and reasonable position has been available since last November. Despite the union’s repeated warnings that delays could end up costing staff, CSIRO management refused to come to the table.
Now, with the current agreement only ten days away from expiry, management has failed to outline their position on pay. With the government bargaining policy hostile to back pay, management seem to have decided that their policy – in practice – is that CSIRO staff should suffer a pay disadvantage.
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Not if the Staff Association can help it. Your bargaining team has rejected management’s latest outrageous attack on the rights, conditions and pay of CSIRO employees. The Staff Association stands up for jobs, working conditions and demands respect for CSIRO employees and their contribution to science and society.
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