CSIRO workplace rights and conditions at risk

risk alertAs CSIRO staff wait for management to release their proposed agreement – likely to be in line with the Federal Government’s regressive bargaining policy – it’s worth examining some of the workplace rights and conditions that are under threat.

The workplace conditions and rights of all CSIRO staff – ongoing employees, specified term and Post Docs – are contained in our Enterprise Agreement (EA) which is protected by law.

Stakes are high

However the Government and senior management want to strip many rights and conditions from the protected EA and relocate them to CSIRO policy where they can be changed at any time without the agreement of staff.

Make no mistake: this is the greatest threat to workplace rights at CSIRO in the history of the organisation.

The Staff Association has produced a flyer that clearly sets out the conditions that are expected to be stripped from the agreement if management release a heavily streamlined deal.

If half of the clauses in our current Enterprise Agreement were stripped into unenforceable CSIRO policy, we’d have no rights to; classification standards, merit promotion standards, APA and underperformance standards, ongoing and specified term employment standards, post-doctoral entitlements, consultationbefore decisions are made, management accountability, relocation and accommodation provisions, part-time work standards, workplace representation rights, minimum training entitlements, moral rightsstandards, and many more.

Next negotiation meeting

The Staff Association believes every one of these clauses is worth fighting for and we strongly encourage all staff to say no the stripping of CSIRO workplace rights and conditions.

CSIRO management, Staff Association negotiators and other bargaining representatives will meet next week on Thursday 24 September for the next round of formal talks.

However whether management are in a position to release their proposed agreement after this meeting still remains unclear.

What’s happening across the rest of the public sector?

CPSU members are intensifying their efforts to break the Government’s bargaining policy by increasing industrial action and voting to reject substandard offers.

More than a third of Australian Public Service (APS) employees have now been asked to vote on a proposed enterprise agreement and agencies where staff have rejected proposals represent more than thirty percent of the entire APS work force.

By contrast, agencies where staff have accepted substandard proposals represent less than four per cent of APS employees.

The results of five enterprise agreement ballots in the APS were recently declared. A number of these agencies were selected as soft targets, and in some cases management offered divisive proposals in an attempt to get agreements over the line with a majority of staff.

However, strong CPSU campaigning delivered a number of decisive “no” vote results. These results are sending a clear signal that the Government needs to shift its hard line position and allow agencies to negotiate reasonable offers with their staff.

In the Department of Human Services (DHS) – which covers tens of thousands of workers in Centrelink, Medicare Australia and the Child Support Agency – a massive 83 per cent of staff voted no, with a participation rate of 78 per cent.

Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) staff also rejected a management proposal, with 61 per cent voting no and a participation rate of 82 per cent.

Over at IP Australia, 73 per cent voted no, with a participation rate of 84 percent; meanwhile at the Department of Health, 61 per cent of workers voted no, with a participation rate of 76 per cent.

There’s also been a new wave of strikes, stoppages and protected industrial action. Canberra based CPSU members participated in a cross agency rally and half day stoppage on Tuesday 15 September, involving workers from DHS, Environment, Education, Employment, Defence, DVA, Agriculture, National Library, the Tax Office, Geoscience Australia, IP Australia, the Bureau of Statistics and many more.

CPSU members in the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and Agriculture are gearing up for national, rolling stoppages at international airports. This is accompanied by complementary bans that have the effect of slowing down the screening of luggage and baggage.

Half day stoppages are planned for the Tax Office, DHS, Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) and other agencies outside of Canberra on Thursday 24 September. There will be a two hour stoppage on Wednesday 16 September by CPSU members in the Tsunami warning centre in Geoscience Australia to protest the proposed cut to their penalty rates. CPSU members from BOM in VIC, WA & NSW are imposing a ban on responding to non-severe weather media enquiries from 9-22 September inclusive.

Never a more important time to join

Join the Staff Association today not only to defend your working conditions at CSIRO, but to support fellow CPSU members taking action to defeat the Government’s regressive bargaining policy.

Email csstaff@cpsu.org.au or call (03) 8620 6348 for more information about membership.

Have your say 

Tell us what you think by emailing csstaff@cpsu.org.au or post a comment below.

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