Staff of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) have overwhelmingly rejected a proposed enterprise bargaining agreement that would cut workplace rights and conditions, for a pay rise well below inflation. A ballot announced on November 1 revealed that 70% of eligible staff voted against CSIRO management's proposed EBA, dealing a further setback to the Turnbull government's faltering public sector bargaining policy.
The decisive vote by staff comes on top of years of severe cuts to jobs and research capacity for Australia's primary public scientific body. CSIRO workers are effectively throwing down the gauntlet to the government's industrial relations policy.
On November 1, CSIRO Staff Association secretary Sam Popovski called on the CSIRO executive to accept the result of the ballot and change tack immediately.
"This strong result sends a clear message that CSIRO staff will not accept cuts to workplace conditions and rights. It's now up to the CSIRO executive and board to genuinely listen to the views of staff, drop this regressive bargaining policy, and get a fair deal done.
"The Staff Association calls on the CSIRO executive to seize this opportunity and urge the government to change the bargaining policy which remains the major obstacle to rebuilding trust across the organisation."
Community and Public Sector Union national secretary Nadine Flood said: "This ballot is no surprise given the damage the Turnbull government has inflicted on CSIRO workers through its unworkable Commonwealth bargaining policy.
"CSIRO staff won't get the fair enterprise agreement they deserve until the Turnbull government makes sensible changes to its bargaining policy so agencies are free to resolve this dispute, which has run for well over 1000 days.
"The fact that ABC staff, who were not subject to the failed Commonwealth bargaining policy, were able to secure a new agreement that includes domestic violence leave and extra parental leave, shows how cruel and flawed the government's approach is."