Critical.
Authoritative.
Strategic.
Subscribe to CIO Magazine »

UPDATED: CSIRO job cuts “baffling”, says union boss

CSIRO Staff Association president Dr Michael Borgas asks management to rethink its position.

CSIRO Staff Association president Dr Michael Borgas described the scientific agency’s decision to cut jobs within its wireless and network technology program as “baffling” and has urged management to rethink its position.

In a post on the union’s website yesterday afternoon, Dr Borgas said CSIRO’s decision to cut several key research positions in its wireless labs was an “acutely short-sighted decision by CSIRO’s ICT management.”

The CSIRO today responded, indicating that it was "relatively early on in the process" and it "had identified three people – one scientist and two technical – who are surplus to the ICT centre’s requirements, but not necessarily to CSIRO."

The agency's wireless and network technology program employs about 60 full-time staff in Sydney and at other critical locations, such as remote Western Australia where the CSIRO is building the world’s fastest radio telescope under the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) project.

“The development of WiFi has delivered both fame and fortune to CSIRO and the Australian government,” Borgas said in the post. “It was only in April that another three US companies settled another patent agreement with the CSIRO worth $220 million.

“So to hear eight months later that CSIRO plans to sack researchers working on the next generation of wireless innovation is almost incomprehensible.”

A CSIRO spokesperson said "investment in different areas of research is governed by an internal science investment prioritisation process."

"The major projects, including the one the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder radio telescope, are appropriately staffed and research projects will be maintained," the spokesperson said.

In yesterday's post, Borgas quoted an email CSIRO’s ICT management divisions sent to the union, which stated that “planned reductions would not eliminate any scientific capability from within the ICT centre.”

He said claims by management that science research would remain unaffected were hard to swallow because less than 12 months ago, a “restructure in ICT resulted in the loss of five research positions.

“Management’s new plan to axe another three research positions from the program represents a stuff cut of five per cent; it is reasonable to predict that the loss of these additional research positions will result in some loss of capability,” he said in the post.

He added that it “was not too late to revisit the decision” and “these research positions are worth saving.”

In the 1990s, a CSIRO team of scientists invented and patented wireless LAN technology. The team's discovery was acknowledged with a European Inventor Award in mid-2012.

The CSIRO has reaped almost $500 million in WiFi patent royalties over the past decade, including $220 million this year.

Follow Byron Connolly on Twitter: @ByronConnolly

Join the CIO Australia group on LinkedIn. The group is open to CIOs, IT Directors, COOs, CTOs and senior IT managers.

References show all
Comments are now closed.
Related Coverage
Related Whitepapers
Latest Stories
Community Comments
Tags: CSIRO Staff Association, CSIRO, Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder, Dr Michael Borgas
Latest Blog Posts
Whitepapers
  • IDC Case Study: Convergence with Vblock Systems: A Value Measurement
    This whitepaper details the results of a series of interviews conducted by IDC with 11 IT organizations, enterprises, and major service providers that deployed converged infrastructure systems based on Vblock Systems.
    Learn more »
  • Smarter Data Centre Outsourcing: Considerations for CFOs
    Deloitte explores the business and finance implications associated with managing data centres. This paper outlines the options available to structure an organisations data centre and complementary IT services and provides the key considerations that need to be reviewed when determining which option works best for them.
    Learn more »
  • Modernize Your Business with Oracle ERP Cloud
    If your business has plans that include aggressive growth and aspires to be a best-in-class organization, your IT systems and applications need to be up to the task. Homegrown solutions or outdated software can hamper the execution of your strategic vision. If your IT infrastructure and maintenance costs are affecting your ability to stay competitive, then a cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) suite is well worth exploring. This eBook explores the core components of a cloud-based ERP solution that delivers enterprise-class software without sacrificing functionality or changes to business processes and with no additional cost for infrastructure and complicated integrations.
    Learn more »
All whitepapers
rhs_login_lockGet exclusive access to Invitation only events CIO, reports & analysis.
Salary Calculator

Supplied by

View the full Peoplebank ICT Salary & Employment Index


Computerworld
ARN
Techworld
CMO