Council condemns Chief Executive

At a recent meeting, the Staff Association Council endorsed motions which condemned and deplored the proposed latest cuts.

Over several weeks, Staff Association Councillors have received overwhelming feedback from members on the shock announcement made by Chief Executive Larry Marshall on 4 February.

Staff Association members immediately raised concerns about the rationale behind the proposal – including how specific scientific areas were selected – as well as criticising the lack of transparency behind the move.

All motions condemning the actions of CSIRO Executive were unanimously supported by Staff Association Section Council as a clear articulation of the opinions of the wider membership.

A motion was also passed condemning the payment of bonuses to senior executives while hundreds of CSIRO jobs are under threat.

Other issues discussed at Council included the Government’s innovation agenda, the SROM project, Data61, upcoming workplace and community campaigns as well as continuing to facilitate member engagement and participation.

MOTION 1

The CSIRO Staff Association Council condemns and deplores the proposal by the CEO Larry Marshall to effect sweeping structural changes and job losses in CSIRO. The process preceding the proposal lacks integrity and it would have a devastating impact on public-good science including environmental and climate research fields.

MOTION 2

As a consequence of the 4 February CEO announcement of research and job cuts the CSIRO Staff Association Council declares that it has lost confidence in the competence of the CSIRO CEO, Executive and Board to look after the interests of public sector science.

We believe the CSIRO brand and reputation has been damaged by the proposal and media interviews. There has been no staff consultation on the proposal and impacts of the 10% clawback of business unit funding. The integrity of our science and the relations with our partners is at risk. The CEO’s proposal is not justified by staff input to the CSIRO Strategy which did not set priorities for science areas.

The Staff Association membership is committed to uphold the integrity of the organisation and the respect for staff. We call for suspension of the proposal until genuine consultation with all staff has occurred.

MOTION 3

Section Council strongly criticises the CSIRO Executive Team (ET) for accepting exorbitant financial bonuses prior to proposing further significant staffing cuts and calls on the ET to declare their intentions with respect to seeking bonuses for this financial year.

ET bonuses should not be awarded at a time when:

  1. An effective pay cut is faced by staff due to inadequate Executive leadership on enterprise bargaining
  2. Back to back restructures and re-directions of business unit research are indicative of poor decision making by the ET
  3. Failure to secure adequate funding from governments persists
  4. The ET fail to champion public good science and the long term interests of our science and scientists
  5. The organisation fails to effectively deal with an ongoing culture of bullying
  6. 1 in 5 staff have lost their jobs already over the past two years.

We would find it completely unjustified and insulting to staff should ET financial bonuses be sought and awarded by the CSIRO Board in the current circumstance.

2 thoughts on “Council condemns Chief Executive

  1. Science and Industry Research Act 1949 (current 2012).

    https://www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/C2012C00352

    You will find in Part II—The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation : 9 Functions of the Organisation

    9 Functions of the Organisation
    (1) The functions of the Organisation are:
    (a) to carry out scientific research for any of the following purposes:
    (i) assisting Australian industry;
    (ii) furthering the interests of the Australian community;
    (iii) contributing to the achievement of Australian national objectives or the performance of the national and international responsibilities of the Commonwealth;
    (iv) any other purpose determined by the Minister;
    (b) to encourage or facilitate the application or utilization of the results of such research;
    (ba) to encourage or facilitate the application or utilisation of the results of any other scientific research;
    (bb) to carry out services, and make available facilities, in relation to science;
    (c) to act as a means of liaison between Australia and other countries in matters connected with scientific research;
    (d) to train, and to assist in the training of, research workers in the field of science and to co‑operate with tertiary‑education institutions in relation to education in that field;
    (e) to establish and award fellowships and studentships for research, and to make grants in aid of research, for a purpose referred to in paragraph (a);
    (f) to recognize associations of persons engaged in industry for the purpose of carrying out industrial scientific research and to co‑operate with, and make grants to, such associations;
    (h) to collect, interpret and disseminate information relating to scientific and technical matters; and
    (j) to publish scientific and technical reports, periodicals and papers.
    (2) The Organisation shall:
    (a) treat the functions referred to in paragraphs (1)(a) and (b) as its primary functions; and
    (b) treat the other functions referred to in subsection (1) as its secondary functions.

    I hope you find strength in your core purpose. Especially, but certainly not limited unto, Part II 9 (1) (ii).

    Simon Marsland
    CSIRO Staff Association Workplace Delegate, Aspendale
    Better, Stronger, Together

    • Why pick out specifically 9 (1)(a)(ii)? As you write, the Purpose is certainly not limited to this!
      Don’t forget 9(1)(a)(iv) “any other purpose determined by the minister”. Effectively, the minister calls the shots whenever they want to. The CEO didn’t arrive by accident. He was hand-picked for the role.
      Get used to it. CSIRO was once the kind of place where benevolent Chiefs drip-fed those intent on great science. It’s changed. Not enough money to do everything it wants to, so getting money from industry is important. There’s very little money in measuring climate change, and what there is is recycled government grants. But there is a whole lot more private investment likely to flow from engineered mitigation. Chase the. Bucks!

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