The Staff Association has written to Dr Larry Marshall calling on the new Chief Executive to rebuild morale at CSIRO by supporting the workforce, rejecting the previous culture of cutbacks and abandoning the government’s unworkable bargaining policy.
With enterprise agreement negotiations soured by a management agenda targeting CSIRO employment conditions, the Staff Association believes Dr Marshall should act quickly and signal a change in direction.
New path required
During November and December last year, the Staff Association asked CSIRO employees to sign a pledge in support of the organisation, Secretary Sam Popovski said.
“Nearly 1,400 staff signed the pledge calling on Dr Marshall, the Executive Team and the Board to support the organisation and the CSIRO workforce by changing direction.
“CSIRO staff are still getting to know the new boss but they do want an immediate change of course. No more job cuts, working conditions protected and respect for independence and integrity. CSIRO staff expect the Chief Executive to stand up for them ” Mr Popovski said.
Talks fail again
The first formal negotiations for the year have again failed to deliver meaningful progress. Management’s support for the Government’s bargaining policy – which seeks to mandate big cuts to conditions, protections and pay – remains unchanged.
Staff Association members are currently participating in a series of nationwide meetings to discuss the lack of progress in bargaining and consider what options might be available to break the stalemate.
“This situation has to change and CSIRO employees have waited long enough. The previous agreement – while still in operation – nominally expired some six months ago and the union’s bargaining position has been publicly available for fourteen months,” Mr Popovski said.
“Despite this, management have still not presented a clear position on pay or amended their position on cuts to conditions that are clearly unacceptable to staff. It’s deplorable; we’ve been in formal negotiation since last July.
“Staff have negotiated patiently and in good faith. However the Federal Government’s bargaining policy is just unworkable, it’s making real progress impossible – not just in CSIRO but across the public sector,” he said.
Time for change
“If Dr Marshall is serious about rebuilding staff morale, he must intervene swiftly and decisively to break the bargaining deadlock,” Mr Popovski said.
“We were scheduled to discuss the issues highlighted by the pledge with Dr Marshall this week, face to face. But that meeting’s now been delayed until mid March.
“That’s too late, this is a matter of urgency for staff and we’ve asked him to treat it as such. Our Staff Association Council is meeting in mid-February to consider all options to break the impasse”
If he’s unwilling to broker a solution – fine – let us know so we can consider our options. However if Dr Marshall is serious about standing up for staff – then let’s get to work straightaway,” he said.