Work bans to continue in July as pressure mounts on CSIRO management

labcoat_supportCSIROProtected industrial action will continue at CSIRO throughout July and August following strong participation from Staff Association members in national public sector strike action.

Two of the current work bans currently in place – the ban on effort logging and working more than 7 hours 21 minutes per day – are set to continue throughout July and August.

Keeping up the pressure

“We’ll continue our fight for a fair agreement by continuing selected work bans,” Staff Association Secretary Sam Popovski said.

“While the Staff Association will meet with management for negotiations later this month, we’re also encouraging members to continue with the bans on effort logging and working beyond 7 hours 21 minutes per day.

“As per legal requirements, the Staff Association has written to management and notified that the extended bans will apply from 1 July 2015 until the end of the month,” Mr Popovski said.

Update – The Staff Association has written to management and notified that the extended bans will apply from 1 August 2015 until the end of the month. You can view this notice here..

Chief Executive responds

Meanwhile CSIRO Chief Executive Larry Marshall has responded to the Staff Association’s open letter ahead of the June strike action.

While the tone was positive and conciliatory, Dr Marshall reaffirmed management’s commitment to the Government’s regressive bargaining policy.

“The Minister for Industry has directed CSIRO to apply the Public Sector Workplace Bargaining Policy and we are bound by that,” Dr Marshall wrote.

While claiming that management had a goal to “reach a fair and equitable agreement for our team,” Dr Marshall did acknowledge the right of union members to take action in defence of their workplace rights.

“CSIRO and CPSU have a longstanding and important relationship. Your organisation performs an important role for our staff.”

“I recognise and respect the right of the CPSU, other unions and our staff who are union members, to organise and participate in protected industrial action,” Dr Marshall wrote.

THAT email

The quality of management communications around enterprise bargaining issues and the taking of industrial action has been patchy at times, to say the least.

It all became too much for one Staff Association delegate who took the Internal Communications team to task over advice provided to staff ahead of the stop work action. The withering email in response soon went viral.

The email touched on the many hours of unpaid work CSIRO staff perform, lack of management progress in negotiations and the dangers of ‘streamlining’ or stripping rights from the agreement. The aggressive tone of the management advice also copped a serve.

The email response certainly got a lot of people talking and prompted a swift mea cupla (of sorts) from senior management. Workplace Relations Manager Alex Allars acknowledged “that some people have expressed concern about the tone of the email.”

“I am sorry about that and will certainly take on board such feedback for future communications,” Ms Allars wrote.

More information

2 thoughts on “Work bans to continue in July as pressure mounts on CSIRO management

  1. Dear Staff Assocation

    Please could you talk further with us about the effort logging ban. I have found this action to be very difficult to understand, and have not supported it. Here’s why:

    I believe that there if there is one single clear shared desired outcome sought by staff of CSIRO, management in CSIRO, and the Staff Association, it is that we want to stop losing staff.

    And, herein lies the difficulty for me – I cant see how this action achieves this outcome. In fact, all I can see is a perverse outcome from such an action – as has been explained to me (at least for the 14/15 FY) it works like this: effort logging is required in order to claim the revenue, and if the effort is not logged, the revenue is not claimable (even approp), the Flagship then has a deficit, and then has to make decisions on ongoing levels of staffing for the next FY… which case, it seems to me that not effort logging takes us down the opposite direction to the desired outcome.

    We all know the accounting system has not worked, and needs to be fixed, and will be fixed in this new FY so that it decouples effort logging and flow of finance.

    Perhaps I am missing something in the logic or underlying facts – if so, I would appreciate being provided with a clear view on how this is intended to work, so that I can understand how the action achieves our desired outcome.

    I have posted this as a public question rather than a personal email, because I know that I am not the only one wondering ….

    Thanking you Deb

    • Hi Deb, thanks for your comment.

      The ban on effort logging – like all forms of protected action – is designed to put pressure on management to drop their agenda of cuts to conditions and rights and negotiate a fair enterprise agreement. Put simply, if management refuse to respect staff by pursuing this hostile agenda, why should management expect staff cooperation – through effort logging – in response?

      Over 90 per cent of Staff Association members who voted in the Protected Action Ballot supported the implementation of bans on effort logging. It is a tactic we employed to good effect during the last bargaining round in 2011. While this frustrated management there was no loss of revenue or jobs as a result.

      At the moment management can (and are) simply default logging where actual effort logging is not being input by members taking action. There has not been (and there will not be) a single job lost as a result of the effort logging ban unless management choose to make this happen.

      The lack of non default effort logging statistics is however frustrating senior management and we have heard of some instances where management have incorrectly suggested that there is a direct link between not logging and loss of revenue and therefore job loss.

      This is dangerous territory. The work ban is protected under the Fair Work Act. Serious penalties apply if union members taking protected action are adversely affected as a result.

      Seen another way, this may be a sign that the bans are working and frustrating management into these types of responses. The Staff Association Council has resolved to continue the ban on effort logging throughout July and review its continuation at the end of the month.

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