Protected industrial action at CSIRO may be drawing nearer, however the lines of communication between the Staff Association and management remain open. This includes recent enterprise agreement negotiations and our first formal sit down with new Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall.
Report from negotiations
The bargaining team met with management last Thursday – only hours following the commencement of the Protected Action Ballot – for a brief enterprise bargaining negotiation, conducted by videoconference.
Staff Association negotiators relayed the strong membership support for the union’s bargaining position, as demonstrated by workplace campaigning in many workplaces ahead of the protected action ballot. This reflects a similar increase in activity across a range of public sector science agencies including the Department of Environment, Geoscience Australia and DSTO.
For their part, management admitted they were no closer and had no timeframe to either tabling a pay offer or putting forward an agreement for the consideration of CSIRO staff.
Management also stated that they continue to apply the Government’s bargaining policy that mandates cuts to workplace conditions, rights and pay.
The next formal bargaining negotiation meeting is scheduled to be held on Wednesday 29 April.
Meeting with Larry Marshall
CSIRO management’s support for the Government’s unworkable bargaining framework was a key subject for discussion during the first formal meeting between the Staff Association and Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall, held earlier in March at North Ryde.
Dr Marshall – while appreciative of the reasons behind the move towards protected industrial action – indicated that CSIRO management were unwilling to push back against the Government’s bargaining policy.
The meeting represented a positive first engagement with the new Chief Executive. Dr Marshall spoke of his family background and experiences of the union movement growing up and reflected on his time in the United State and the issues facing workers, in particular relating to retirement savings.
However, even looking beyond the bargaining deadlock at CSIRO, it’s clear that Dr Marshall has a big task ahead of him with many important issues on the agenda.
These include negotiations with Government for a new quadrennial funding agreement, the formulation of the strategic plan for the next decade, improving the effectiveness of consultative council and the future funding of national facilities managed by CSIRO, such as AAHL and RV Investigator.