CSIRO has admitted that a recent decision to extend performance review timeframes constituted a breach of the enterprise agreement, following representation from the Staff Association aimed at minimising employee disadvantage.
While the move to extend ‘hard close’ deadlines for Annual Performance Agreements (APAs) will remain; following a meeting with Staff Association representatives, CSIRO management have provided series of clarifications on the changes, an apology for the implementation of the new policy and an assurance that the organisation does ‘not expect that any individual will be disadvantaged by this change to the process for this year.’
Staff Association members who are concerned the changes to APA deadlines may result in a negative, individual impact are encouraged to contact an organiser or local delegate for initial advice and assistance.
Citing the ongoing effects of the pandemic on the workforce, Chief Executive Larry Marshall announced the extension alongside other measures as “tangible action (CSIRO leaders) can take to help you through this challenging period… to bring some relief, we’re deferring APA deadlines by a month.”
However, the APA timeframes are clearly mandated by the legally enforceable enterprise agreement (EA) and the decision to extend the deadlines, despite the motivations, occurred without any consultation with staff or union representatives.
As a result Staff Association President Sonia Grocke and Lead Organiser Louise Jarman immediately sought a meeting with senior CSIRO management to discuss the union’s concerns.
Among multiple concerns raised by members, Staff Association representatives highlighted:
Following the meeting, CSIRO management admitted the error in an email to the Staff Association.
‘CSIRO acknowledges that the Annual Performance Agreement timelines are set out in the CSIRO Enterprise Agreement 2020-2023.
‘With our priority being our people and providing them, with flexibility in meeting corporate deadlines, our communication with the CSIRO Staff Association was later than is our usual practice.
‘CSIRO apologises for this and for any confusion this may have caused for our people.’
‘CSIRO’s intention in extending the APA timelines was in the interests of the health and wellbeing of our people and we do not expect that any individual will be disadvantaged by this change to the process for this year.’
CSIRO also issued additional clarifications:
While the move to extend APA timeframes was clearly well-intentioned and made in the interests of employee welfare; the implementation of the decision, including a clear breach of the EA, should give staff pause for thought. Genuine consultation on issues of how you do your work always matters.
CSIRO has indicated an expectation that no individuals will be disadvantaged by the changes but stopped short of making that a guarantee.