The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) is one of Australia’s most well regarded scientific institutions- so it may come as a surprise to hear that BoM employees are planning a live protest during their radio weather forecasts! According to their union representatives, the staff members are livid about their stalled pay negotiations and the prospect of significant job cuts.
Members of the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) currently working in the Bureau will be given the option to vote for a raft of civilly disobedient measures including the purposeful bungling of Ministerial briefings, radio transmitted protest messages and a complete strike. Similarly, the CPSU has suggested that all incoming phone calls and emails be roundly ignored.
CPSU national secretary Nadine Flood said the reactionary measures were an attempt to regain control of a thoroughly uncertain situation. “They know from what’s happening in other agencies that the Government is giving them less say at work and making it easier to cut jobs. Understandably they are not going to take this lying down,” Ms Flood told the ABC.
“BoM staff love the work they do and they know that the service they provide is really important to all of the community,” Ms. Flood continued. “Whether it is checking the weather for space programs or international aviation, looking at weather patterns for farmers or just trying to find out if it is BBQ weather, everyone needs the bureau. They are vital to the community so it’s a shame that this government doesn’t recognise that.”
Addressing the potential fiasco, the BoM has come out against the proposed actions. “The Bureau of Meteorology is aware of industrial actions being considered by members of the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU),” it said in a statement.
“The Bureau is continuing to work to achieve the best possible pay offer for its staff with a focus on maintaining job security, fulfilling work roles and career options. The Bureau is disappointed that the CPSU has decided to apply for a ballot of its members to take protected industrial action, as the Bureau is bargaining in good faith with representatives and expects that an offer will be on the table soon.”
Bureau employees last received a pay rise back in 2013, but since then the discussions have been slow-coming. Similarly, eleven other federal agencies have announced their intentions to strike against proposed pay cuts (the BoM joins union members from the Departments of Agriculture, Tax, Human Services, Defence, Veterans’ Affairs, Environment, Employment, Geoscience Australia, CSIRO, and the Australian Institute of Criminology).
Ultimately, it’s just more bad news for a government facing battles on almost every front. With serious social services and institutions railing against the LNP’s razor-gang, it’s clear that something’s got to give. Hopefully, one of our most loved and cherished scientific institutions will hold out against the rising tide…
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