CSIRO to lose one-fifth of its workforce over two years: CPSU

New analysis from the union representing CSIRO workers has revealed that 878 positions will be cut by the end of June 2015, more than previously forecast.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor

Job losses at the Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) are expected to be worse off than originally forecast.

New analysis from the union representing CSIRO employees has revealed that one in five employees will lose their job over the next two years. This means that 878 positions will go by the end of June 2015, a 14.7 percent cut to the workforce over the financial year, which is higher than the CSIRO's earlier forecast of approximately 770 job losses.

CSIRO staff association secretary Sam Popovski warned that the size and scale of the cuts are larger than expected.

"The job losses are 10 percent higher than forecast, following the federal Budget cuts and CSIRO's internal restructure. As the government has slashed funding into CSIRO, it has at the same time damaged the confidence of industry to invest in CSIRO research," he said.

The job cuts will come as a result of the federal government's decision to scale back funding to the CSIRO by AU$115 million, which was announced in May's federal Budget. A total of 60 percent of the CSIRO's total funding comes from the government.

A total of 513 CSIRO job cuts were made during the previous financial year. However, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott denied responsibility for any of those cuts, despite initiating a hiring and recontracting freeze as part of a move that was designed to shrink the public service sector by 12,000 staff members.

"We haven't made any cutbacks to the CSIRO. The management of the CSIRO, and the employment of staff inside the CSIRO, and the management of the contractors of the CSIRO is a matter for the CSIRO itself," Abbott said at the time, noting that the government was not responsible for the government-imposed hiring freeze.

The CSIRO is forecast to cut 1,391 jobs over a two-year period ending June 30, 2015, representing a 21.5 percent cut to the workforce, or the loss of around one in five CSIRO jobs. In total numbers, the 2014-15 jobs cuts will be highest in Victoria, with 221, the Australian Capital Territory will account for 167 jobs, and New South Wales with 161.

"The Staff Association calls on the government and incoming chief executive Larry Marshall to arrest this downward spiral, urgently restore funding, and rebuild morale in the proud organisation that is CSIRO," Popovski said.

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