Fair Work Commission orders vote on CSIRO industrial action

The Fair Work Commission authorised a ballot of Staff Association members for protected industrial action at CSIRO. The campaign to protect CSIRO working conditions, rights and pay is set to escalate.

Bargaining breakdown

Negotiations for a new enterprise agreement at CSIRO – spanning eleven formal meetings over eight months – have effectively stalled. The current agreement nominally expired last August. Management were first provided with the Staff Association’s bargaining position in December 2013.

CSIRO management continue to support the federal government’s bargaining policy which mandates drastic cuts to working conditions and rights. This policy is unpopular, divisive and increasingly unworkable. Bargaining is breaking down across the public sector as more and more union members start to fight back and move towards industrial action.

Conditions must be protected

Staff Association members recently met in a series of national membership meetings and called for an escalation of the campaign to protect conditions at CSIRO.

After it became clear that new Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall would not intervene to reject the Government’s regressive bargaining agenda, CSIRO Staff Association Section Council called on Section Secretary Sam Popovski and CPSU National Secretary Nadine Flood to prepare an application for a Protected Action Ballot.

Time to vote

The CPSU application for protected industrial action ballot was not opposed by CSIRO management. It will be an electronic ballot run by the Australian Election Company and conducted via a secure website. Staff Association members will be able to vote online using their computer at home or work or by using their smartphone or tablet. Members will be sent an email with the voting instructions.

The ballot will open on Thursday 26 March and close on Monday 13 April 2015. A copy of the order issued by the Fair Work Commission including ballot questions can be accessed here.

It is crucial that every member votes YES to all specified actions. For the ballot to be successful a majority of Staff Association members must vote and a majority of those who vote must vote yes.  Further information will be provided to members in coming days.

Public sector workers are taking action

The move towards industrial action in CSIRO mirrors similar action across the public sector, with thousands of union members in Human Services, Veterans’ Affairs, the ATO, Agriculture and Employment who are all now taking or planning industrial action.

Science workers in public sector agencies such as Geoscience Australia and the Department of Environment are also moving towards industrial action demonstrating the widespread opposition to the Government’s unfair bargaining agenda.

Only union members are protected

If you’re already a Staff Association member, make sure that you vote and also encourage others to do so.

However, only union members will be legally protected when taking industrial action. If you believe in protecting CSIRO working conditions, support our campaign by joining the union. Email csstaff@cpsu.org.au for more information.

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