Chief Executive Larry Marshall’s plan to cut hundreds of CSIRO jobs has attracted widespread condemnation and even more than the outrage than the loss of 1,300 jobs since 2014.
In a unique and unprecedented step, the CSIRO Staff Association has written to Science Minister Christopher Pyne seeking an urgent intervention.
This escalation comes as information provided by senior management reveal that 450 CSIRO jobs are now on the line; one hundred more than the 350 announced by Dr Marshall in early February.
The Staff Association remains in dispute with CSIRO management over the controversial job cuts plan, with the matter set to return to the Fair Work Commission on Thursday 14 April.
Morale hits rock bottom
“CSIRO staff have lost confidence in the Executive management and morale is at rock bottom,” said Staff Association Secretary Sam Popovski.
“The Staff Association is calling on Minister Pyne to suspend the cuts and instigate an independent inquiry into CSIRO’s management structure and processes,” he said.
More job cuts planned than originally announced
In an email to CSIRO staff on 4 April, Dr Marshall said that 350 positions were set to go. However based on subsequent information provided by the Executive team some 450 jobs are at risk; one hundred more than the original announcement.
“The 450 potential job losses comprise of 100 in Land and Water, 100 in Oceans and Atmosphere, 70 in Data61, 40 in Agriculture, 40 in Manufacturing, 40 in Mineral Resources, 20 in Food and Nutrition and 40 in Research Support,” Mr Popovski said.
CSIRO staff call for The Fixer
“The Staff Association has never formally requested that a Government or Minister intervene to stop a proposal of the Chief Executive; however with the CSIRO jobs crisis only worsening, we have little choice but to seek the help of Minister Pyne to fix the problem,” Mr Popovski said.
At workplace meetings around the country, CSIRO staff are being asked to endorse the letter that asks the Minister Pyne to suspend the cuts and instigate an independent inquiry into CSIRO’s management structure and processes.
Suspend cuts until after election
“We urge Minister Pyne to direct CSIRO to suspend these proposed cuts until after a Federal Election is held this year,” Mr Popovski said.
“Let the public consider if cuts to CSIRO jobs and the abandonment of public good research – including on climate change – are in Australia’s best interest,” he said.
Mr Popovski said that the letter also called on Minister Pyne immediately instigate a fully independent inquiry into CSIRO’s corporate management function, structure and processes; pointing out that it had been three decades years since a similar review in scope had occurred.