20 JAN 2019


The Telstra EBA Protected Action Ballot (CWU members only) will commence tomorrow Mon 21 Jan and close on Mon Feb 25. The AEC will conduct the ballot. Nationally, we must achieve 1) greater than 50% of votes returned, and 2) greater than 50% of the returns in the affirmative. You may be contacted by members of our Committee of Management and other activists encouraging you to return your ballot paper with a YES vote. We want a high return rate to demonstrate CWU members endorse this action. That will enable the commencement of a period of Protected Industrial Action, in order to pressure Telstra to properly negotiate an improvement on the terrible 1.5% pa offer they have currently tabled.


Working in heat can be hazardous and can cause harm to workers in both indoor and outdoor work environments. Businesses have duties under work health and safety laws to manage health risks in the workplace, including those associated with working in heat. See the Safe Work Australia guide to managing the risks of working in heat. See Page


We wrote to Post in December re the changes proposed at SPF. Our letter stated:

    I refer to my email of 20 Dec 2018 re the changes proposed or implemented at SPF. We raised a number of concerns. Some members have expressed concern that more changes will be implemented before we can meet to discuss the changes. We ask that no changes occur until we have had an opportunity to consult on the changes. Would you kindly confirm your agreement?


We then received reports that Post was rushing to implement changes. We wrote again Friday afternoon as follows:

    Further to my email yesterday (below). I have also left a message for you. I have not received an undertaking as requested. I am advised that there is now a rush by Post to introduce a new roster next week, consequent changes in staffing levels and new arrangements. There are issues that we have already raised with you both in my earlier email and in a letter from Lee Walkington. We have already stated that genuine consultation did not occur on these changes, and we proposed a meeting to deal with the problem. Attempted implementation of changes will only result in the creation of an even greater industrial dispute. This will certainly end up in FWC as an urgent matter next week as members are likely to strongly resist the forced introduction of these measures. Would you kindly advise of the Post position?


To assist with resolution of the issues raised with Post, we have a small working party consisting of Garry Newbery, Rodney Page and Paul Sherley. Please discuss the matters with them so that we have your views.


The Telstra response to our letter (see last bulletin) does not appear to address our issue squarely. We will continue oppose any shut-down. The Telstra response stated:

    Thank you for your letter and we acknowledge the concerns raised. Similar to previous years, we encouraged employees to take a break during our quiet period. As you will have noted from the "Christmas and New Year FAQs 2018" AskHR article, managers were also asked to considered individual circumstances (such as current leave balances, annual leave already booked and other plans that an employee may have) when discussing leave arrangements over this period with their team. Telstra shared a range of FAQs to accompany this AskHR article, including one about in what circumstances an employee can be directed to take Annual Leave: Can I be directed to take annual leave? Yes, your manager may direct you to take annual leave in certain circumstances. Refer to the Annual Leave Policy in Australia for more information. Some managers exercised their right to direct employees to take Annual Leave, in accordance with the EA & Telstra policy. With that being said, as we have now entered the new year, this AskHR article has since been removed.


Following complaints re dirty exchanges, we have sent the following letter to Telstra: See Photos on Web Page

    We have been informed that Telstra in Sydney cancelled the cleaning of exchanges from 21 Dec 2018. As a result the premises have deteriorated to the point where there is a serious health and safety problem. You will be aware that the exchanges are used not only by Telstra staff but also numerous contractors. They are not "unattended" exchanges at all. Telstra is primarily responsible for the cleaning of the premises and for the health and safety of staff and contractors. We attach some photos.
    We seek an urgent undertaking that cleaning services will be resumed immediately.
    If urgent action is not promised and taken, we will direct members to not work in certain exchanges until the safety issue has been resolved.


Telstra did respond promptly. It appears that they are acting promptly. More next week. Telstra said:

    Thanks for highlighting the state of these facilities. We will be taking action immediately at these sites. For future reference, employees are able to flag the state of facilities for remedial action by logging a task at https://telstra.unily.com/sites/power-and-facilities. Whilst it was paused over the Christmas period, there is a regular cleaning schedule for the sites, which will continue throughout the year. As you mention, these facilities are not permanently staffed, so we do rely on staff to advise us if the cleaning cycle has not kept the facility adequately maintained. In relation to your query regarding cleaners wages - we have contracts with 13 companies nationally that use supported workforce to provide facilities services to us; all are employed and paid as per the relevant awards.

Authorised by Dan Dwyer Branch Secretary
CWU Telecommunications & Services Branch, Leichhardt, NSW.