Dissatisfied after a showdown last week, scientists at the Australian Synchrotron have returned to working on a 9-to-5 schedule rather than round the clock, a partial strike that could severely hamper many planned research efforts.
Synchrotron scientists had hoped the Victorian government, the synchrotron's largest stakeholder, would intervene in their dispute with the facility's governing board. But with the government keeping its distance on the conflict, the scientists on Friday announced an indefinite industrial action known as work to rule.
A letter from the researchers written to synchrotron Catherine Walter, chair of the board, said:
The scientific staff of the Australian Synchrotron wish to express their lack of confidence in the Board of Directors. On the basis of all available information including discussion with the Chair of the Board on 9th December, we believe that members of the current Board have not provided adequate governance in areas including:
* the management of the scientific imperatives and culture of this facility;
* appropriate accountability and transparency;
* effective and timely development of business and facility development plans;
* handling of the termination of the Facility Director's position; and
* management of critical relationships with relevant parties including Stakeholders, facility management and staff, the Science Advisory Committee and the User Advisory Committee.
In order to maintain due attention to the widespread concerns surrounding the governance of the Australian Synchrotron, the Scientific staff have decided to work to rule.