CSIRO management have used the third round of bargaining negotiations to propose a radical overhaul of the rights and workplace conditions of Term Employees, including Post-Doctoral Fellows.
While still to table a formal position on pay, management have provided a briefing on CSIRO’s finances, revealing just how much has been budgeted for labour costs over the next three years.
Trashing Term employment
An important part of the current enterprise agreement is the schedule that covers specified term employment – including Post-Doctoral fellows (Post-Docs) – containing a range of legally enforceable working conditions.
The schedule sets out criteria for term appointment, special conditions for Post-Doctoral fellows including training and development, separation entitlements, the obligation for equitable treatment of all staff and much more.
Management have proposed to rip the entire schedule from the enterprise agreement and dump it into unenforceable CSIRO policy, stripping legal protections in the process.
No justification or argument has been offered by management for this drastic proposal, other than to claim that the Government’s ‘bargaining policy requires removal of the entire schedule from the enterprise agreement.’
Budgeting for a real pay cut?
Senior Executives Craig Roy and Hazel Bennett provided a briefing on CSIRO’s finances and the context for salary increases, without tabling a formal pay offer or a time frame for doing so.
Management have budgeted for labour costs over the next three years, comprising:
- 1 per cent labour cost increase for 2014-15
- 1.5 per cent labour cost increase for 2015-16
- 2 per cent labour cost increase for 2016-17
While failing to table a formal pay offer, management did indicate that any increase, however meagre, would be subject to ‘productivity’ measures that would likely involve cuts to entitlements, conditions and workplace protections.
Time to join
On Saturday 16 August 2014, the current CSIRO enterprise agreement reached its nominal expiry date. While existing rights and protections continue to operate, management’s constant delays are starting to cost staff financially, in real terms.
There is a way to put pressure on management – by joining the union. The Staff Association fights to protect jobs, protect working conditions and make a better CSIRO.