The news that Staff Association members have voted to take protected industrial action to defend working conditions and rights at CSIRO has resulted in national media coverage and many public messages of support.
Here are some of the highlights.
Australian researchers plan slowdown to protest stalled contract negotiations – Science Magazine (US)
The Staff Association put its proposals for a new agreement on the table in December 2013, 8 months before the current agreement expired. After more than a year of fruitless negotiations, on 16 April more than 88% of the staff association members who voted approved the job actions, which could eventually include work stoppages of between 1 and 24 hours at a time.
CSIRO staff pledge industrial action – The Australian
CSIRO Staff Association Secretary Sam Popovski said his members had voted overwhelmingly in favour of protected industrial action, starting with reporting bans. “If management won’t support CSIRO staff, (it) cannot expect their cooperation in measuring their scientific efficiency… Staff will instead spend less time on red tape and more time on their research.”
- Read the complete article here (paywalled) or scroll down for text only version.
CSIRO scientists to take industrial action after negotiations stall – Guardian Australia
Mr Popovski said scientists at the agency, which suffered a $115m funding cut in last year’s federal budget, felt as though “they are being targeted for doing their job, for fulfilling their vocation as scientists… and there are no guarantees that CSIRO funding will not be cut again when this year’s federal budget is handed down in less than a month,” Popovski said.
Defence, CSIRO staff vote to take industrial action – Fairfax Media
Mr Popovski said support for industrial action aimed to not only break a bargaining impasse but to send a message to management and the federal government that attacks on working conditions would not be tolerated. “CSIRO employees have had enough. In the past 12 months they’ve suffered drastic funding cuts, witnessed the cancellation of critical research and farewelled one in five of their cherished colleagues,” he said.
Top scientists threaten industrial action – Australian Associated Press
The CSIRO staff join colleagues at the Departments of Agriculture, Tax, Human Services, Defence, Veterans’ Affairs, Environment, Employment, Geoscience Australia, the Australian Institute of Criminology and Bureau of Meteorology in planning industrial action. A spokeswoman for Minister for Industry and Science Ian Macfarlane advised he would not comment on operating matters related to the agency.
CSIRO staff vote to begin industrial action – IT News
If an agreement cannot be found before the next round of bargaining meetings set for 29 April, the action will start the following day. The campaign will see (CSIRO) workers cease performing administrative tasks such as providing reports to management and attending face-to-face meetings. The Staff Association emphasised that the industrial action will not affect the scientific output of the agency.
There’s been a big response from the public on social media – using the hashtag #supportCSIRO – in a show of solidarity with Staff Association members and the campaign to protect CSIRO jobs and working conditions.
Some of the comments on Twitter included:
- “I totally #supportCSIRO! Science makes LIVING better!” @vanbadham tweeted.
- “I will always #supportCSIRO. We need to invest far more in science & research – not less,” said @the_cheshirekat.
- “ #supportCSIRO to ensure there are career paths for our bright young scientists in Oz,” @nickjatan said.
- “I #SupportCSIRO because innovation is essential for a healthy economy. And just look at their excellent track record!” wrote @twbtwb
- ” #supportCSIRO we are not a smart country without our research and invention – we need our CSIRO,” tweeted @mzaa
Meanwhile, over on Facebook:
- “I ♥ CSIRO and the staff so much I want to join them after I graduate,” said Georgia.
- “I support CSIRO,” said Edd.
- “Support the science that Australia’s success has been built upon,” wrote Goran.
- “Did anyone use Wi-Fi today?” asked Jeff.
- “Working at CSIRO is really satisfying and interesting despite the best efforts of successive cuts, (however) morale is low and that can only lead to bad things,” warned David.
Former CSIRO employee and Staff Association Section Councillor Peter Saunders perhaps put it best:
- “Protect science in Australia. This and education are the keys to our future.”
- Protected Industrial Action – background, resources and latest updates
- Enterprise Bargaining – campaign page.
CSIRO staff pledge industrial action
John Ross, The Australian
CSIRO scientists have committed to industrial action if an enterprise bargaining “impasse” is not resolved by the end of the month.
CSIRO Staff Association secretary Sam Popovski said his members had voted overwhelmingly in favour of protected industrial action, starting with reporting bans.
“If management won’t support CSIRO staff, (it) cannot expect their cooperation in measuring their scientific efficiency,” Mr Popovski said.
“Staff will instead spend less time on red tape and more time on their research.”
Mr Popovski said CSIRO’s leadership had exacerbated “plummeting” morale by applying “hostile” federal government industrial relations policies to public sector workers.
A CSIRO spokesman said the agency was continuing negotiations for the next enterprise agreement. “Our objective remains to develop an agreement that supports our future strategy, reflects the commitment of our staff and maintains our position as an attractive employer,” he said.
“It’s appropriate that we continue to deal directly with the union and staff representatives on this matter, rather than through the media.”
Mr Popovski said staff had “had enough” after budget cuts and declining external earnings triggered site closures and hundreds of job losses.
“In the past twelve months they’ve suffered drastic funding cuts, witnessed the cancellation of critical research and farewelled one in five of their cherished colleagues,” he said.
“CSIRO workers feel like they are being targeted for doing their job, for fulfilling their vocation as scientists, especially after last year’s funding cuts. There are no guarantees that CSIRO funding will not be cut again when this year’s federal budget is handed down in less than a month.
“Now the CSIRO workforce is being asked to accept cuts to their conditions and rights at work. That’s clearly unacceptable.”
This article was originally published at http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/csiro-staff-pledge-industrial-action/story-e6frgcjx-1227306782210