Despite the recent release of a revised offer by senior management, CSIRO’s bargaining agenda has not changed. Even with some minimal movement in remuneration, this proposal continues to threaten workers rights, conditions and entitlements.
The proposal remains very poor and we can still see the influence of the Australian Public Service Commission over senior management dictating how CSIRO staff should be treated.
Recently the Staff Association called on Chief Executive Larry Marshall to respect staff by making a fair agreement with staff and their representatives; and to stop supporting the hard line agenda of the federal government when it comes to cutting rights and conditions from our enforceable agreement. We’re providing a solution that can be implemented soon but management remain deaf to the concerns of staff.
Even with a revised proposal there is still no timetable to allow staff to have their say. After 18 months of staff not receiving a pay rise, management didn’t even have the courtesy to allow bargaining representatives to consider the proposal in discussions prior to presenting it to all staff.
The Staff Association will now analyse the new proposal comprehensively and respond to management at the next negotiation meeting on Monday 17 December.
Disrespectful pay offer
Don’t be fooled by deceptive accounting by senior management; the pay offer is well below inflation when considered in real terms. The 18 month delay in a pay rise for staff means the offer presented by management is really 6.5% over 4 years and 9 months. With seemingly no prospect of back pay, at best the new offer is worth 1.4 per cent per annum.
Conditions, entitlements and workplace rights still at risk
Staff Association members have expressed frustration with the characterisation of the revised proposal by the head of the management negotiation team, Peter Mayfield. In an email to all staff, he stated that “CSIRO is able to provide this revised pay offer without the need to make any changes to conditions to fund the pay increases”. This is patently untrue. The move to ‘streamline’ or strip large sections of the enterprise agreement still represents the biggest attack on CSIRO working conditions and rights in the organisation’s history.
Dr Marshall has said that “the draft Agreement looks different to the current one, due to streamlining provisions of the Government’s Bargaining Policy. In this context I would like to reassure all of you that CSIRO remains committed to future consultation with you and your representatives about changes to CSIRO Policy and Procedure and your terms and conditions of employment, as is the case currently.”
Yes, management may choose to talk to staff before a change in procedure or policy, but they do not have to accept any suggested changes. The current Enterprise Agreement (EA) is protected by law, can be enforced in the Fair Work Commission and cannot be changed without the agreement of staff.
Examples of your rights at risk
Initial overview indicates the proposal is still unacceptable, with no change to the stripping of very important conditions and rights. From our current enforceable EA, staff are still set to lose the following:
1. Consultation (clause 57) – subclauses 57 (k)-(o) are still missing from the latest offer. Of particular note is clause (k) which reflects CSIRO’s need to consult on major change before the major change is introduced. Without these protections, CSIRO can introduce major change without talking to staff and without any accountability prior to deciding the introduction of a change.
2. Job Security (clause 13 and Schedule 2) – CSIRO has still removed it’s commitment to on-going employment as the standard form of employment in their new offer. Furthermore, the reference to the type of information provided at the time of appointment has been removed. The clauses as they stand in the new offer provide management with more power and more flexibility, which could lead to an increased use of casual and term employment instead of indefinite employment.
3. Miscellaneous Leave (clause 65) – subclauses (e) and parts of (c) are stripped from the EA. Clause 65 (c) allows examples under which miscellaneous leave would be granted. These have been removed completely from the agreement. Furthermore, the granting of miscellaneous leave is at your line manager’s discretion, with no clear requirement to define what reasonable / unreasonable leave is.
4. Annual Performance Agreement (clause 37) – 6 sub-clauses have been stripped from the EA . There is still 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 reduce both the rights of staff in the APA process and the Staff Association’s ability to enforce these rights.
5. Principles and Facilities for Workplace Delegates and Representatives (clauses 59 and 60) – These clauses have been completely stripped and are still missing from the draft EA offer. These critical clauses ensure that CSIRO workers continue to have a voice in the workplace.
Adoption and Family Violence leave proposals
At face value, the proposal to introduce new leave provisions concerning adoption / fostering leave and family violence leave is welcome. The Staff Association bargaining position called for the introduction of both family violence leave and equitable adoption leave.
However – predictably – management are not proposing to include these new provisions in the legally protected agreement, electing to locate them in policy where they can be changed or removed without the agreement of staff.
Time to join
If you are concerned about the future of rights and conditions at CSIRO – then it’s time to join the Staff Association. Every new member that joins the union strengthens our position at the negotiating table and helps to keep the pressure on management to drop their regressive bargaining agenda .