While 2020 has been a tumultuous year for all, it’s been particularly tough for union members impacted by restructures within CSIRO, including in Energy, Agriculture and Food and Health, Safety and Environment.
The Staff Association, especially through our workplace delegates, has been at the forefront of supporting members, mitigating jobs losses and protecting entitlements through redundancy and relocation processes.
Some 39 positions were set to go in a massive restructure of this business unit. Staff Association Energy delegates pushed back from the outset, requiring senior management to better justify the proposed reduction of capabilities and the identification of individual positions.
Delegates did a remarkable job to ensure every member was supported and provided representation in meetings with management.
To date 12 positions have been saved from the original 39 positions that were targeted – a 31 per cent reduction. Potential redundancy has been paused for a further two positions, because of secondments or allocations to work outside the business unit.
All members also received an extended period of consultation at the start of the process – from two weeks to a minimum of four weeks. This was in addition to the minimum two month redeployment period for opportunities to be explored across CSIRO. The redeployment period was extended further for members in the COVID-19 lockdown period in Melbourne.
Delegates at sites in Newcastle, Clayton, Kensington (WA) and North Ryde participated in a range of activities to protect the interests of every member, including:
20 positions were identified as potentially redundant by Agriculture and Food Executives across a range of capabilities and work locations. Staff Association delegates immediately sought justification from senior management, in particular in the context of a ‘refreshed’ Agriculture and Food strategy.
More than a dozen other positions in food science capabilities at North Ryde were also identified for compulsory relocation to Werribee.
To date, 4 positions – or 20 per cent of the original 20 positions – have been saved through advocacy on the importance of the capabilities to CSIRO. At North Ryde, the work of Staff Association delegates and members has ensured that entitlements to retention periods and redundancy were increased above Enterprise Agreement standards.
Sadly however, significant capabilities in both agricultural and food science will be lost because of these restructures.
Energy and Agricultural and Food were not the only business units at CSIRO to have undergone significant change this year, both in science and in enterprise support areas.
In particular an overhaul of the Health, safety and Environment area within the People function has resulted in several staff leaving CSIRO; and similarly with the Human Resources area.
Through this year’s restructures and into the future, the Staff Association is absolutely committed to:
All members should be alert to the impending new APaIR process being conducted by the CSIRO Executive, which will impact on the funding provided to each Business Unit as well as to allocated average staffing levels (ASL).
With the Federal Government increasing appropriation funding to CSIRO, decisions will be made on much of that funding goes to each Business Unit as well as the funding allocation to CSIRO’s Missions and Challenges.
Staff Association representatives will be formally meeting with Dr Larry Marshall and CSIRO Executive on 4 December at the biannual Consultative Council meeting to demand an increase in secure employment through the new Enterprise Agreement and a reduction in the use of outsourced labour. The Staff Association will also be seeking greater clarity and justification on the future directions of CSIRO, given the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on CSIRO’s external earnings in future years.