CSIRO IT staff face job cuts


The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) late last week claimed that technology support staff at Australia’s flagship research agency would face a round of about 40 to 50 redundancies as the IT budget was frozen.

“On Tuesday CSIRO Information Management and Technology (IM&T) management started a national tour of sites delivering the bad news to staff that there will be a significant number of redundancies and that nearly all of IM&T will have to participate in a “spill and fill” process to try and keep their jobs in a proposed “secret” new IM&T organisational structure,” said the union in a statement issued last week.

It is believed the ‘spill and fill’ term refers to a process where employees will be asked to re-apply for jobs in a new organisational structure — a common industrial technique used by large organisations rationalising their workforce.

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation is Australia’s peak scientific research group. Its top IT executive is Property & Information Services director David Toll.

The union wrote that CSIRO had stated the need for the IT redundancies had come about due to the fact that the “IM&T budget has been frozen in an environment where costs have increased by around $9 million” – including an increase of $3 million for Microsoft software licensing.

“However the Staff Association has been aware for some time (prior to the federal budget) of rumours that a major restructure and redundancies in IM&T were on the cards,” the union wrote. CSIRO’s media team has not yet responded to a request for comment on the matter, but this article will be updated with its response when issued.

The union stated that CSIRO’s IT management had not given a figure for the total headcount that would be loss, saying that the number would be dependent on how much savings could be made from other areas and “the classification mix” in the proposed new structure.

“What the Staff Association believes, however, from other sources is that the staff cuts are going to be in the order of 40 to 50 or around 15% of IM&T,” the union wrote.

Particularly slated to be impacted are the CSIRO in-house libraries, with the union claiming that the agency has announced the facilities are to be rationalised, with some library closured. It noted that library staff had already gone through the ‘spill and fill’ process, with some redundancies already occurring.

The union claimed it would be “impossible” for the CSIRO’s IT department to provide the same level of service to the agency with what it called “significantly reduced staff numbers”. “This will clearly have an impact upon the provision of support to all CSIRO divisions and flagships,” the union claimed.

Image credit: Ivan Petrov, royalty free


  1. “IM&T budget has been frozen in an environment where costs have increased by around $9 million” – including an increase of $3 million for Microsoft software licensing.

    To me that reads: Pay Micro$oft more and shaft the employees?

    Though in my experience IT tend to gravitate towards M$, so possibly they bring this on themselves?

    Cornflower blue, it will kill you.

  2. Switch to Linux and OpenOffice.org: spend the money on input, evaluation and application (human resources), instead of spending it on “licensing” (begging to pay millions to use buggy and inefficient software). Good grief, I thought the CSIRO had more brains than this!

    • The Australian’s story didn’t mention anything about the IT job cuts ;) If you must be a persistent troll on Delimiter at least get your facts right ;)

  3. Rumors are CSIRO management believe support staff to be overpaid. The reason for the spill and fill is to not only cut staff, but also to declassify jobs, so that some of the remaining staff will have to do their old job, but take a significant pay cut (at least $10,000 or more). As a result it is likely that much more than the 40 people will go, probably another half as much as that will also be forced to go if they don’t want to take a very significant pay cut. This is not only happening in the IT area but other support services.

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