A resurgence in COVID-19 cases and fears of increased community transmission has increased pressure on CSIRO management charged with the organisation’s workforce response and future planning.
Meanwhile the Staff Association has launched a Covid progress survey to measure employee concern and sentiment at CSIRO.
Keeping staff safe
From the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, the Staff Association has been working to secure CSIRO’s workforce response, with staff wellbeing and safety paramount. This work is as critical as ever with a resurgent wave of coronavirus cases occurring in Victoria and increasing fears of community transmission in New South Wales and Queensland.
The Staff Association’s COVID-19 working group – comprised of delegates and members who inform the union’s approach on Covid-related representations – has nominated three areas for immediate improvement; increased cleaning arrangements and access to hygiene resources in the workplace, better equipment and resource support as more staff divide regular activity between both home and workplace and finally better support for team leaders through the development of best practice responses to possible scenarios in CSIRO workplaces as staff gradually return.
The Staff Association has repeatedly urged CSIRO Executive to take a strong, proactive approach in preventing COVID-19 transmission in CSIRO workplaces. To do this, clear scenarios-based staff consultation and decision making must occur.
The Staff Association’s COVID-19 working group has provided CSIRO’s Situation Management Team (SMT) with an initial proposal on COVID-19 response scenarios.
This proposal will help guide further negotiations between SMT and Staff Association representatives on improving communications and decision making to keep staff safe through the pandemic.
New Ways of Working
CSIRO’s Business Transition Team – as part of a mandate to develop longer term changes to work practices due to coronavirus – have released a high-level policy overview described as ‘our transition to new ways of working.’
New Ways of Working (NWoW) charts a broad range of possible changes to the workplace and the nature of work – plus the impact on employees – in the context of a significant and sustained increase in remote working and so-called blended or hybrid arrangements that also incorporate onsite activity.
Topic areas canvassed within the policy include communication and engagement, technology and resource support, health and wellbeing, working times and collaboration and performance.
The NWoW initiative has received the endorsement of the Executive Team, however wider CSIRO staff engagement remains at an early stage. At the recent Consultative Council meeting, Staff Association representatives secured a commitment from CSIRO Executive to engage in a comprehensive and meaningful consultation process on NWoW, that the union’s COVID-19 working group will play a direct role in drafting.
The Staff Association will submit a specific NWoW consultation proposal to CSIRO shortly and welcomes member suggestions on consultation mechanisms via email.
The Covid progress survey has been designed to better represent the views of members as part of the Staff Association’s continuing engagement with CSIRO Executive regarding the organisation’s Covid response.
Views are sought on the impact of coronavirus across a range of issues including remote working, resource provision, access to leave provisions, staff wellbeing, workloads, communication and collaboration.
The survey should take no longer than ten minutes and individual responses will remain confidential. Survey closes 5pm (AEST) Friday 31 July 2020.