CSIRO negotiations flounder as Industry and Science staff crush dodgy deal

The latest round of bargaining talks have failed to deliver any significant progress; with senior management admitting they are no closer to putting forward a pay offer or a replacement agreement for staff consideration.

Meanwhile, public sector workers at the Department of Industry and Science have delivered a stunning rebuke to the Government’s extreme bargaining policy by emphatically rejecting a management proposed agreement that sought to strip rights and working conditions.

Still no CSIRO pay or agreement offer

The most recent enterprise agreement negotiations has yielded little progress, especially in terms of revealing management’s position in terms of pay or the likelihood of offering an agreement for staff consideration.

Despite the current agreement expiring more than nine months ago, CSIRO management can still not even propose a timeline to when a replacement deal might be put to a staff vote.

It appears that as more and more public sector workers stand up against the Federal Government’s regressive bargaining agenda; the relationship between the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) and CSIRO management is becoming increasingly ineffective.

Best laid plans..

The APSC plan went like this:

Choose an agency with low union membership and a long track record of voting up agreements proposed by the employer. Put forward a dodgy deal that strips working conditions and rights as per the government’s bargaining framework. Roll out an aggressive campaign to vote yes; including managers handing out flyers and putting up posters in tea rooms and – yes – even the toilets.

Then secure a crushing victory for the bargaining rules and blame union members for making the whole process unworkable everywhere else.

Compared to CSIRO, CPSU membership at the Department of Industry and Science is low. For the past several decades, every management proposed agreement has been voted up by staff.

It seemed like a sound plan. Pity the staff at the Department of Industry and Science didn’t agree.

Stinging rebuke

Despite the aggressive management campaign to drive out the ‘yes’ vote, staff at the Department of Industry and Science rejected the offer emphatically, by a margin of three-to-one.

76 per cent of the 3,300 Industry staff participated in the ballot. Management’s proposed agreement was rejected by 77 per cent to 23 per cent.

The humiliating defeat at Industry is set to increase the pressure on the APSC and the Federal Government’s bargaining policy as more and more public sector workers escalate the campaign to protect working conditions and rights.

Work bans to continue at CSIRO

Based on the feedback of members and delegates, the Staff Association Council voted to continue the protected industrial action until 30 June 2015. The work bans include:

  1. A ban on the recording of effort logging
  2. A ban on responding to internal CSIRO voicemail messages
  3. A ban on attending face-to-face meetings with management and instead dial-in details will be requested for participation in meetings with management by telephone or video
  4. A ban on working more than 7 hours 21 minutes per day.

Stoppages set for June

Following recent strike action in major public sector agencies such as Human Services, the Tax Office and the Department of Defence; CPSU members look set to step up their industrial campaign with a set of state-by-state rolling stoppages in June.

Unless CSIRO senior management change direction and drop their support for the Government’s unworkable bargaining rules, it’s likely that Staff Association members will need to escalate industrial action and join with fellow CPSU members in mass stop-work meetings.

Staff Association members are also encouraged to attend membership meetings currently taking place around the country and also to continue to promote and apply the work bans.

More information



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