Senior leaders at CSIRO are under increasing pressure to design an improved pay proposal, following the crushing results of a staff poll on Executive’s first offer.
The CSIRO proposal – an 11.2 per cent increase over three years – was comprehensively dismissed by Staff Association members, with 81 per cent of participants calling on Executive to improve the pay proposal.
In the meantime, enterprise agreement negotiations continue to move forward, with improved parental leave arrangements the subject of constructive discussion.
Staff Association members were asked to participate in a confidential online poll to measure support for Executive’s first pay proposal and provide direction for union bargaining representatives in future negotiations. The poll was open for two weeks and closed Friday 20 October.
1,531 staff took part in the confidential poll, representing a clear majority of Staff Association members and close to a third of all CSIRO employees.
81 per cent (1,246 respondents) determined that Executive’s three year, 11.2 per cent proposal wasn’t good enough and called for increased campaigning to improve the offer.
CSIRO has not yet provided a public response to the setback; with the latest all staff email from Executive noticeably silent on the poll outcome and containing no mention of pay whatsoever.
Deep down, Executive bargaining representatives must acknowledge that the first pay offer cannot attract even modest support from CSIRO staff and is no longer viable.
Acknowledging the poll results is the first step CSIRO’s senior leaders need to take toward addressing the organisation’s pay problems.
With less than a month to go until the nominal expiry date of the current agreement, Executive is also facing renewed calls from union negotiators to guarantee staff will not be financially disadvantaged by the delayed bargaining process.
In an email to staff when first announcing the pay offer, Executive bargaining representatives admitted it would be ‘unlikely to have a new CSIRO agreement in place’ by the nominal expiry date but that the ‘Australian Public Service Commission is proposing arrangements to mitigate the potential impact of any delays to pay increases as a result.’
However – despite assurances to the contrary – CSIRO Executive have provided no further information on these arrangements, including options that could operate similar to backpay.
Back at negotiations, Executive bargaining representatives tabled a proposal to improve parental leave that goes some way to meeting Staff Association claims on the issue.
Built on the APSC model clause, the proposal would increase the paid amount of parental leave to 18 weeks for the primary carer and implement a phased, incremental increase to 18 weeks for secondary carers by 2027.
Discussions are ongoing concerning the implication of the proposed changes on superannuation, especially if choice of fund changes are implemented.
Executive’s purchased leave proposal – designed to replace the current entitlement allowing averaging pay over a reduced working year – was discussed.
In an email to staff, Executive bargaining representatives described the changes as ‘new and more beneficial’ while releasing factsheet and video as part of the sales job.
Some Staff Association members have expressed concern over the removal of the existing arrangements. If you currently or have in the past accessed averaging pay over a reduced working year, email us with your confidential feedback on the proposed changes.
In response to Staff Association claims, Executive also proposed the introduction of a new workplace responsibilities allowance for health and safety representatives, emergency wardens, mental health first aid officers, equity contact officers, and domestic family violence and abuse contact officers.
Ceremonial and NAIDOC leave – up to six days over two years – is proposed for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff.
The introduction of cultural leave for all staff – up to three days per year to fulfil significant religious or cultural obligations – is also recommended.
The next negotiation meeting is scheduled for Monday 30 October. Topics expected to be discussed include superannuation and remote localities allowances.
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