CSIRO job cut dispute heads back to Fair Work Commission

Staff Association representatives have sought further assistance from the Fair Work Commission in dealing with the dispute following Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall’s controversial plan to cut a further 350 CSIRO jobs.

The move comes after CSIRO Executive released a new ‘extension of consultation’ plan in response to a comprehensive Staff Association proposal to resolve the dispute.

Staff Association Secretary Sam Popovski said that while a request from CSIRO for clarification regarding aspects of the plan had been responded to by management; further assistance from the Fair Work Commission was required.

Call for further talks 

“The Staff Association acknowledges that the combination of Dr Marshall’s email of 17 March 2016 and the information on the MyCSIRO ‘Change News’ intranet has provided better and more information to all staff on the nature of the proposed job cuts,” Mr Popovski said.

“However we do not believe that there is sufficient information on new jobs at this stage and in the opinion of the Staff Association the CSIRO Executive must do better.

“The union is willing to have further discussions with CSIRO between now and the commencement of any redeployment period for officers likely to become potentially redundant as a result of the change. We’re of the belief that the independent Fair Work Commission is the best place to facilitate these discussions,” Mr Popovski said.

Executive timetable and mechanisms need improving

Mr Popovski said that timetable and engagement mechanisms put forward in CSIRO’s ‘extension of consultation’ plan remain a source of concern.

“The Staff Association is not satisfied that the Executive’s proposal will achieve an outcome that delivers meaningful and genuine consultation for all CSIRO staff.

“Specifically, we are not satisfied that CSIRO has provided sufficient time or mechanisms to give prompt and genuine consideration to matters raised about the change in the discussions with relevant officers, or provided staff or the union, clear and effective mechanisms that will ensure that the Chief Executive takes this feedback into account.”

Concerns that staff engagement is already failing

Mr Popovski said he was concerned about reports from the meeting between the Executive Team and Land and Water staff at Canberra’s Black Mountain site.

“Reports that Land and Water staff in Canberra were so frustrated as to walk out of the Question and Answer session with Dr Marshall and other senior executives are very concerning.

“The quality of engagement between workers and management is crucial to achieving meaningful consultation, especially in an environment where many CSIRO staff feel they have been kept in the dark.

“Recent comments from Dr Marshall stating that CSIRO remains ‘committed to a process of seeking staff feedback, reflection, and careful consideration of that feedback’ is welcome but staff need to see the evidence that this is actually occuring,” Mr Popovski said.

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