The Australian government and a big part of its research workforce are headed for a showdown. Barring a breakthrough in negotiations over a new employment agreement at a meeting on 29 April, staff at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) could start skipping meetings with managers and ignoring their phone messages, refusing to fill in time sheets, and working strictly to specified hours. These industrial actions could escalate to strikes.
"These are not workers who go on strike at the drop of a hat; it takes a lot to get them into a situation where they feel they need to take action," says Anthony Keenan, a spokesman for the CSIRO Staff Association, which is affiliated with the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU).
In response to a query from ScienceInsider, CSIRO spokesman Huw Morgan wrote in an e-mail: "We’re aware of the comments regarding industrial action by the CPSU. Our objective remains to develop an agreement that supports our future strategy, reflects the commitment of our staff and maintains our position as an attractive employer."