Scientists at Melbourne’s Synchrotron research facility are striking on Tuesday to defend their wages and entitlements, despite new Minister for Science Christopher Pyne touting the importance of innovation for economic growth.
“Professionals Australia members will take the unusual step of protesting outside the Synchrotron facility on Tuesday morning,” said Professionals Australia Victorian Director, Sharelle Herrington.
“We cannot accept cuts to existing work arrangements when Synchrotron scientists face increasingly demanding assignments. Scientists at the Australian Synchrotron support high quality research in sectors from medicine and nanotechnology to manufacturing and mineral exploration.
“Minister for Science Christopher Pyne must do more than pay lip service to the important role of science and technology. National research facilities need to treat their staff properly.
“Scientists are taking this action as a last resort. They will walk off the job for 24 hours tomorrow to protest proposed changes to fix-term contracts, annual leave, and moral rights.
“They are taking protest action because they have had enough of the uncertainty that surrounds their jobs which has been brought about by needless bureaucracy and government indecision.”
“Scientists would much prefer to be working to advance their research projects. They recognise the protest will result in disruption to some projects, but know it is necessary to make sure their concerns are taken seriously.
Professionals Australia members hope that the appointment of a new Prime Minister and Science Minister will mean their concerns are taken more seriously.
“The new Prime Minister has signaled science and innovation will sit front and centre of government business. Scientists at the Synchrotron – and around the country – hope the Prime Minister’s words result in action to end the uncertainty that has threatened working conditions over the past year.
“Synchrotron employees have been given no alternative. It is time to adequately value the important work done by these highly trained researchers and the contribution they make to the future of our nation,” said Ms Herrington.
Media contact: Jessica Kendall 0414 679 857