Narrow Yes vote secures new CSIRO enterprise agreement

CSIRO staff have narrowly voted to approve a new enterprise agreement, with their reluctance underlining the importance and difficulty management faces in rebuilding trust in the organisation.

The agreement was secured with a 57.74% Yes vote. The ballot closed late on Thursday night, with 77% of eligible CSIRO staff participating.

It was the second time CSIRO staff had voted during the current round of bargaining, following on from last October’s 70% No vote.

CPSU National Secretary Nadine Flood said: “CSIRO scientists, researchers and other staff deserved better than this deal, particularly given their pay has been frozen for well over three years, but it is a significant improvement on what was previously being offered.”

“We have got to this position because CSIRO bosses came to finally realise that there would be no new agreement until they recognised that the core issue for staff was the retention of hard-fought rights and conditions. It’s a similar position to what we’ve already seen this week in Defence and Agriculture.”

“More than one in five CSIRO scientists have been sacked under the Turnbull Government. For the sake of all Australians there must never be a repeat of the past few years, where science has been treated appallingly along with the people who do critical research in some many areas.”

The CSIRO Staff Association, which is part of the CPSU, worked diligently at the bargaining table to get the best possible outcome.

CSIRO Staff Association Secretary Sam Popovski said: “We’re proud of Staff Association members, whose long fight restored rights like a commitment to secure, ongoing employment, flexible working hours and on-site childcare. But this agreement, like so many others, remains unfair, underlined by many staff choosing to vote no even after such a long wait.”

“While the new agreement represents a substantial improvement on the CSIRO Executive’s first offer – with the retention of many rights and conditions – there is a long way to go to rebuild morale, trust and confidence among scientists, researchers and other staff.”