Union members at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) will take strike action to defend working conditions, rights and pay which are currently threatened by management’s support for Federal Government’s policy that aims to strip workplace rights and conditions.
CSIRO Staff Association members across the country will stop work between 9 – 11 am (local times) on Thursday 19 November in protest against management’s refusal to protect workplace conditions and rights.
“CSIRO staff have witnessed dramatic funding cuts; seen critical research abandoned and suffered a twenty per reduction to the workforce over a two year period,” said CSIRO Staff Association Secretary Sam Popovski.
“Now CSIRO management are proposing to slash conditions and workplace rights; in keeping with the Federal Government’s unfair bargaining rules. That’s simply unacceptable and Staff Association members are determined to defend their rights by continuing to take protected industrial action,” Mr Popovski said.
Proposed deal would cut rights, conditions and pay
CSIRO management’s offer slashes the current enterprise agreement drastically; from 94 clauses down to 59 and from 103 pages in length down to 46.
“Stripping nearly half of the current agreement content into CSIRO policy would make these provisions unenforceable,” Mr Popovski warned.
“It means CSIRO management would have the power to totally remove or change these conditions and rights at any time without agreement and staff would be unable to legally enforce these conditions and rights with the independent umpire, the Fair Work Commission.
“Given that CSIRO staff have seen 1 in 5 jobs lost over the past two years it’s not surprising that they’re unwilling to accept this further attack on their workplace standards.
“Management’s pay offer is poor and will take CSIRO staff backwards in real terms; 1.5 per cent per annum over 38 months. 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,” Mr Popovski said.
Time for Government to fix public sector bargaining
The CSIRO strike action follows thousands of Department of Immigration and Border Protection staff – including Border Force officers at international airports – who recently stopped work as part of the campaign against the Federal Government’s attack on their rights, conditions and take-home pay.
With 96% of all workers across the broader public sector still without new agreements the CPSU is calling on the Government to make more changes to its bargaining policy.
“We’ve made it clear all year – both at the negotiating table and beyond – that this dispute could be resolved if the Government dropped the cuts to rights, conditions and take-home pay and maintained real wages. We’re up for a resolution that provides sensible and fair outcomes, but CPSU members are also fully committed to continuing their campaign – including strikes and bans – if the Government is not serious about solving this impasse,” said CPSU National Secretary Nadine Flood.
“Neither the CSIRO Executive nor the Federal Government are listening to the genuine concerns of CSIRO staff. The Government’s unworkable bargaining policy is causing chaos across the public sector and it’s high time for the implementation of a new policy that treats workers with dignity and respect,” Mr Popovski said.
After all, it’s the workers at CSIRO that the Government will rely on to help deliver their soon to be released research and innovation agenda,” he said.
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