Long-serving CSIRO Staff Association Secretary Sam Popovski has announced plans to resign from the position in early May, to take up a new role focusing on increasing union participation across the federal public sector.
Mr Popovski will become the Director of Development for the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU), of which the Staff Association is a section.
The decision to move on from the CSIRO Section Secretary role – taken after a period of extended leave earlier this year – follows fifteen years of service to the Staff Association by Mr Popovski; spanning time as workplace delegate, research officer, lead organiser and union secretary.
Susan Tonks is expected to be endorsed by Staff Association Section Council to take up the role of Acting Secretary, consistent with union rules, until scheduled elections take place later this year.
After more than a decade as Staff Association Secretary, Mr Popovski said it was time for a new challenge.
“I am very excited to embrace this new opportunity with the CPSU, working in a broader role with workers across the wider federal public sector and beyond.”
“It’s been a rare privilege to lead the CSIRO Staff Association over the past decade. The decision to move on from CSIRO and our members has not been easy, I’ve truly loved every day,” Mr Popovski said.
Joining CSIRO as a postdoc in 2000, Mr Popovski worked five years as researcher at the Centre for Environment and Life Sciences at the Floreat site in Western Australia, before moving to take up a series of roles with the Staff Association including research officer and lead organiser.
First elected as Staff Association Secretary in 2009, Mr Popovski oversaw multiple enterprise agreement campaigns to protect working conditions and led the resistance to funding cuts – felt most acute during 2014 – to protect CSIRO jobs and careers.
“I started my own union life as a workplace delegate and postdoc representative. Working with the CSIRO Staff Association was never part of the career plan back then. But with the encouragement of many great colleagues, I was able, over time, to develop the skills and confidence necessary to undertake the Secretary role,” Mr Popovski said.
“This shift in direction has been carefully considered by Staff Association Council over recent months and I’m extremely confident in the future of the union, with Susan Tonks as Acting Secretary.”
“Susan is a very experienced and capable union leader that has worked with a range of public sector science agencies over the last decade,” Mr Popovski said.
Both Mr Popoviski and Ms Tonks will visit CSIRO workplaces in major capital cities over coming weeks, as well as organising events to connect with Staff Association members online via video conference.
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