It’s rubbish: management offer trashes CSIRO conditions and rights

bin chicken_crop webOver a year since the nominal expiry date of the current Enterprise Agreement and more than twenty-one months after receiving the Staff Association’s bargaining claim – CSIRO management have finally revealed their bargaining agenda.

Developed in secret and behind closed doors with the Australian Public Service Commission; the resulting draft offer isn’t pretty.

Despite these extraordinary delays management still have no timetable for allowing staff to have their say and vote on the offer.

Very poor pay offer

The pay offer is paltry and will take CSIRO staff backwards in real terms. 1.75 per cent on commencement; with additional increases of 1.5 per cent at 12 and 24 months. Over the 38 month life of management’s proposed offer this equals 1.5 per cent per annum. However when the delays are taken into account the most generous calculation translates to an actual pay offer of no more than 1.1 per cent per annum, well below current inflation rates.

Extensive stripping of existing CSIRO conditions and rights

The management offer slashes the current agreement drastically – from 94 clauses down to 59 and from 103 pages in length  down to 46. By moving masses of agreement content – your CSIRO conditions and rights – into policy or procedures makes these provisions unenforceable. It means management have the power to totally remove or change these conditions and rights at any time without agreement and the Staff Association would be unable to legally enforce these conditions and rights with the independent umpire;  the Fair Work Commission.

Detailed analysis is available

The Staff Association negotiation team has produced a detailed analysis of the management offer compared to the contents of the current agreement, examining the proposed changes clause by clause. Click here to download the spreadsheet.

Examples of your rights at risk

There are extensive examples of stripping of conditions and rights within management’s offer that we know will not be acceptable to many members. Here we’ve selected six examples  and described the impact of their removal.

1. Consultation (clause 57) –  All organisational commitment to consult prior to a major change has been removed. This will mean managers will simply be able to tell unions and staff after a decision is made and only be bound to consult on implementation issues.

2. Job Security (clause 13 and Schedule 2) – CSIRO’s commitment to ongoing employment as the standard form of employment has been removed from the agreement. The Staff Association has been successful over the last five years in pressuring CSIRO management to maximise ongoing employment. The removal of these clauses will spell bad news for job security and could well lead to an increased use of casual and term employment instead of indefinite employment.

3. Miscellaneous Leave (clause 65) – The commitment that supervisors should not unreasonably refuse an application has been stripped from the agreement. In addition to this the eleven examples of circumstances under which miscellaneous leave should be granted have been removed. This gives far greater scope for supervisors to refuse this leave (including potentially the annual shut down) and very little capacity for staff or the union to contest the issue.

4. Annual Performance Agreement (clause 37) – There is no longer:

  • a commitment to discussion of work objectives
  • any requirement to recognise corporate citizenship roles as part of the APA process
  • Any escalation process if you disagree with your supervisor’s assessment
  • any Performance and Development step approval process
  • any appeal process if you believe you are wrongly denied a Performance and Development step.

These changes dramatically reduce the rights of staff in the APA process and the Staff Association’s ability to enforce these rights.

5. Part-Time employment (clause 75) – The rights of part-time officers have been significantly reduced. There is no longer:

  • a requirement for a part-time agreement to be in writing
  • a requirement that no pressure be applied to staff to convert to part-time or to transfer to another position
  • a requirement that part time work can only be varied by agreement
  • a requirement that officer initiated part-time proposals must be considered
  • a right of reversion for full time officers who have gone temporarily part-time

These changes significantly reduce the rights of part-time officers and of the Staff Association’s ability to enforce them.

6. Principles and Facilities for Workplace Delegates and Representatives (clauses 59 and 60) – The rights of your Workplace Delegates to represent you and the facilities to enable them to do so have been removed in the management offer.  These include:

  • management’s commitment that the role be respected
  • management ‘s existing commitment to dealing with delegates in good faith
  • the right of delegates to communicate and consult with staff
  • reasonable time and facilities for delegates to perform their role

Want to learn more? Attend a meeting!

There are face to face meetings of Staff Association members occurring in all major sites over the next two weeks (and phone hook-ups for regional sites). Get the details from your delegate or organiser and make sure you attend.

Not a member of the Staff Association? Time to join

If you are concerned about your pay and conditions and those of your fellow CSIRO staff its time to join. Talk to your Workplace Delegate or Organiser, visit www.cpsu-csiro.org.au, email csstaff@cpsu.org.au or call (03) 8260 6348 for more information.

3 thoughts on “It’s rubbish: management offer trashes CSIRO conditions and rights

  1. I work in a workshop at Clayton and half of the so called conditions were taken away from me about 8 years ago. Just give me the pay rise, no matter what it is, and let me get on with it.

    • Any limitation on classification progression for workshop staff has been a result of management devaluing and undermining the role of workshops and the skilled staff that work in them. This has been a trend across CSIRO workshops that we have fought and represented members, but has been very difficult to stop over time.

      The Staff Association takes into account input from all our members during bargaining. Our overall input indicates that the overwhelming majority of members are not prepared to accept the stripping of conditions and rights in exchange for a 1.1% per year pay rise.

  2. The reason most of us work for CSIRO is Job security and job satisfaction not pay. Therefore any attempt at watering down job security provisions must be opposed at all costs even at the expense of pay increments. I would rather have a job with low pay than be unemployed with no pay.

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