CSIRO staff have narrowly voted to approve a new enterprise agreement, "with their reluctance underlining the importance and difficulty management faces in rebuilding trust in the organisation," according to the union.
The new deal gives them three salary increases over the life of the agreement, to 2020, totalling a 6.5 per cent increase.
A major sticking point remains "the erosion of consultations rights" with staff believing the agreement waters down their right to be consulted on major change within the CSIRO including outsourcing.
The CSIRO only released a two-line statement in response.
"CSIRO is pleased to have reached a resolution and will now seek approval of the CSIRO Enterprise Agreement 2017–2020 with the Fair Work Commission (FWC)," spokesman Huw Morgan said.
"Staff approved the agreement during a ballot held this week."
The agreement was secured with a 57.74 per cent "Yes" vote.
The ballot closed late on Thursday night, with 77 per cent of eligible CSIRO staff participating. It was the second time CSIRO staff had voted during the current round of bargaining, following on from last October's 70 per cent "No" vote.
CPSU national secretary Nadine Flood said CSIRO scientists, researchers and other staff "deserved better than this deal, particularly given their pay has been frozen for well over three years, but it is a significant improvement on what was previously being offered".
"We have got to this position because CSIRO bosses came to finally realise that there would be no new agreement until they recognised that the core issue for staff was the retention of hard-fought rights and conditions. It's a similar position to what we've already seen this week in Defence and Agriculture," she said.
"More than one in five CSIRO scientists have been sacked under the Turnbull Government. For the sake of all Australians there must never be a repeat of the past few years, where science has been treated appallingly along with the people who do critical research in some many areas."
The CSIRO Staff Association, which is part of the CPSU, "worked diligently at the bargaining table to get the best possible outcome".
CSIRO Staff Association Secretary Sam Popovski said: "We're proud of Staff Association members, whose long fight restored rights like a commitment to secure, ongoing employment, flexible working hours and on-site childcare. But this agreement, like so many others, remains unfair, underlined by many staff choosing to vote no even after such a long wait."
"While the new agreement represents a substantial improvement on the CSIRO executive's first offer – with the retention of many rights and conditions – there is a long way to go to rebuild morale, trust and confidence among scientists, researchers and other staff."
Three salary increases will take place over the life of the agreement:
• 3 per cent from the first pay period commencing on or after the date of operation of the agreement;
• 2 per cent from the first pay period commencing on or after 12 months from the date of operation of the agreement and
• 1.5 per cent from the first pay period commencing on or after 21 months from the date of operation of the agreement.