This is the ninth in a series of fact sheets to assist CSIRO union members and workplace delegates to better understand and enforce our rights at work.
The source of these rights is clause 87 of the new CSIRO Enterprise Agreement
2011-2014 (EA) which is attached at right. Members are encouraged to read this
clause in its entirety.
What can a dispute be about?
A dispute can be notified about any matter arising under the EA or from the
application of the National Employment Standards of the Fair Work Act 2009.
Notification of a dispute by a CSIRO officer (or group of officers) will mandate
that dispute procedures be enacted.
Normally a dispute relates to a breach of a clause or a matter contained
within the EA. The Staff Association can represent members at any and all stages
of the process.
What are the steps in the process?
It is a two step process. In the first step, the parties to the dispute must
try to resolve the dispute at the workplace level, by discussions between the
officer (or officers) and relevant supervisors and/or management. If an officer
is a Staff Association member, they are normally represented by their delegate
or organiser in these discussions.
If this step is unsuccessful, a party to the dispute may directly refer the
matter to Fair Work Australia (FWA). This streamlined process has removed a
number of bureaucratic steps from the previous procedures (under the 2008- 2011
EA) and as a result, places increased onus on CSIRO to resolve the matter at the
If the dispute goes to FWA, how is it dealt with?
FWA may first attempt to resolve the dispute through measures such as
mediation, conciliation, expressing an opinion or making a recommendation. If
FWA is unable to resolve the dispute through these measures, it can then
arbitrate the dispute and make a determination that is binding on all parties.
Is an officer required to keep working through a dispute?
Yes, unless in continuing to perform their normal work, an officer has a
reasonable concern about an imminent risk to their health and safety.