The new CSIRO Enterprise Agreement has not yet materialised, despite the conclusion of the all staff vote some four weeks ago.
“We had hoped that the final approval process would be completed in a timely fashion and that CSIRO staff would receive the new agreement – and a long overdue pay increase – by this stage,” Staff Association Secretary Sam Popovski said.
CSIRO Executive have confirmed the delay at the Fair Work Commission in an email to staff. On Tuesday 25 July, FWC wrote to CSIRO and bargaining representatives stating that ‘whilst (FWC) cannot provide a specific approval date, it is anticipated that the agreement will be allocated to a Commission member this week.’
‘Following the review of the application by a Commission member, (FWC) will be in contact to update the parties with respect to a timeframe for approval.’
“While CSIRO Executive submitted the new agreement to the Fair Work Commission, there appears to have been no communication to staff on the progress of the approval or any explanation for the delay,” Mr Popovski said.
Management’s second enterprise agreement offer was approved by a vote of 58 per cent with 77 per cent of eligible CSIRO staff participating in the ballot, the results of which were announced 23 June.
It was then lodged at the Fair Work Commission for the approval process to commence on 29 June.
The Fair Work Act states that ‘the application must be lodged with the Commission within 14 days of the agreement being made or within such further period as the Commission allows.’
In addition to a series of legal and technical requirements ‘before approving an enterprise agreement, the Commission must ensure the agreement passes the better off overall test.’
‘This test requires that each of the employees to be covered by the agreement are better off overall than under the relevant modern award.’
Mr Popovski said that it was unclear what the cause of the significant delay was.
“CSIRO Executive is responsible for lodging the application for the approval of the Enterprise Agreement with the Fair Work Commission.
“Other agreements such as at ANSTO were approved within a fortnight earlier this year. Given CSIRO staff have not received a pay increase in more than three years, this additional delay is extremely frustrating.
“We urge CSIRO Executive to do all it can to help finalise the Enterprise Agreement as soon as possible,” Mr Popovski said.