How Many Jobs is that?

Posted on July 3, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized |

It is quite insulting to read the CSIRO CEO excuses to staff and in the media for the massive job cuts which are currently being faced (or have already been experienced) by CSIRO employees as simply being attributable to reduction in government funding, when so much wastage has occurred as a direct result of Dr Clark herself.

We question how many employees might have been retained had $6 Million not been wasted on an investigation that was never actually empowered to investigate the serious allegations raised about the conduct of certain CSIRO officers and was in fact, a thinly veiled exercise at ‘covering the backsides’ of a guilty minority.

We know for a fact after reviewing a number of submissions provided to us that complaints were raised about the conduct of Dr Clark herself and other senior executives in relation to the handling and/or perpetuation of misconduct within the organisation.  How many of the complaints made in relation to senior officials in the organisation were properly investigated?

We would be surprised if any were investigated as most of the high-level allegations we have been privy to, were removed from submissions prior to redrafting and submission to CSIRO for a response meaning that the allegations were never tested.

If we are to understand the logic of this correctly, the investigator has determined that a failure to act does not constitute an act of misconduct and is therefore out of scope of the investigation.  We would happily receive clarification of this logic from Professor Pearce.

The CSIRO Code of Conduct explicitly states that CSIRO employees must report any act or suspected act of misconduct.  Those in receipt of such information not only have a moral and ethical obligation to act but also breach the Code of Conduct by bringing the CSIRO into disrepute as a result of failing to address such allegations.  A failure to act upon or report conduct of a criminal nature carries its own serious consequences in various jurisdictions.

Under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Cth), and formerly the Workplace Health and Safety Act, failing to take reasonable steps to prevent harm to employees is a serious offence which carries substantial fines for both individuals and organisations and the most serious of circumstances may even warrant a custodial sentence.

Again, we know for a fact that Dr Clark herself has failed to act on many complaints of bullying and victimisation throughout her tenure as we have advised members to contact her directly with allegations after it quickly became apparent that some senior or mid-level officers were failing to respond adequately to such allegations.

Perhaps it is time for Comcare to enact its powers under Part 9, Division 3, Subdivision 4 of the Work Health and Safety Act to compel CSIRO, and/or the investigator to provide all documentation relating to the investigation to assess any likely breaches of the act.

The CSIRO, instead of addressing and rectifying such behaviour and its horrific impacts, prefers to bring its bottomless legal muscle to bear in frustrating the claims of CSIRO employees who have suffered injury as a result of its actions and inaction, or to mislead Comcare into doing the same.

How much did it cost for CSIRO and Comcare combined to frustrate the claim of Martin Williams which inevitably led to AAT Deputy President JP Constance not only dismissing much evidence of the evidence provided by senior CSIRO officers as unreliable but also taking the unprecedented step in preferring all of the evidence of Mr Williams over that of the respondent.

How much is CSIRO currently spending in frustrating the myriad of claims made by other victims of its bullying and victimisation?

How many jobs might this have saved?


Related Article:

CSIRO staff warn research ‘stymied’ after job cuts, want meeting with Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane

Updated Tue 1 Jul 2014, 6:49pm AEST

Staff at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) are calling for an urgent meeting with Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane over proposed job cuts.

The Federal Government has cut more than $110 million from the organisation’s budget, and staff have already held national protests against the cuts.

The CSIRO Staff Association is also hoping to convince the crossbench Senators to water down the cuts.

The organisation stands to lose about 700 staff in the coming financial year, on top of 477 jobs already lost in the past 12 months.

Bioanalytics and informatics leader David Lovell, who has worked with the organisation for 16 years, said research had been stymied.

“We’ve gone from a situation where we have lots of exciting research that we are pursuing and delivering to a situation where we’re just stymied,” Dr Lovell said.

“We won an iAward recently for a system which is being used to digitise small specimens and I’ve just found out that the team involved from that are potentially surplus to requirements.”

In practical terms, the drop in funding means cuts to research in a range of areas, including geothermal, carbon capture and storage, and sensor development research.

CSIRO Staff Association acting secretary Dr Michael Borgas said he would be sending letters to the Industry Minister and the crossbench senators this week.

He said the meetings need to happen as soon as possible.

“We’re under no illusions that there’s simply a button that’s going to be pushed overnight. There’s a widespread lack of understanding I think about how the science that the nation does, particularly in its national laboratories or its public laboratories, and that’s got to turn around,” Dr Borgas said.

“The sooner we can start those conversations the better, but we’re not pretending that we’re going to get an instant outcome in this, but there’s not a second to lose because we can’t afford this sort of short-sighted cut to happen again.”

CSIRO chief executive Megan Clark met staff in Hobart to address concerns about the job cuts this afternoon.

“Right now we are working through those discussions and as you can appreciate on a day like today, and this week, there will be some very difficult discussions and people need to understand and get clarity,” Dr Clark said.

“Then of course we will look for deployment opportunities for them elsewhere in the organisation.

“But [it’s] not an easy time and the moment for some of our staff and all of our teams to be honest.”

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