22 JULY 2019

Next Meeting Tuesday 23 July 7.30pm to 8.00 pm. Meeting ID is 423689031. No password.
+ Simply dial in: 02 8015 2088 and enter the Meeting ID
+ Use your phone app (Download app "ZOOM") and enter the Meeting ID
+ Click this link: https://zoom.us/j/423689031

This is how we see the essential issues with proposed Clause 45.

  • If InfraCo Pty Ltd is registered and set up, it will not have the Telstra EBA (81 week redundancy, 36 3/4 hr/week etc) or the Telstra Safety Net Award (45 week redundancy and 36 3/4 hour week etc). It will have the Telecom Industry Award (17 week redundancy and 38 hr/week). (Max figures include notice).
  • In 2011, Telstra wanted the Telecom Industry Award to apply to Telstra. We fought it in the FWC and won the special Telstra safety net Award - a first in Australia and the best safety net Award in place. Do they want the same for InfraCo Pty Ltd?
  • While you may take Telstra conditions over to InfraCo Pty Ltd, they will only last until InfraCo does an EBA.
  • At the moment Telstra could not force you to move to InfraCo Pty Ltd.
  • Clause 45 effectively says that you will not be entitled to retrenchment benefits if you reject an offer of a suitable position with InfraCo Pty Ltd.
It is complicated. Email me to arrange a meeting if you wish to discuss the full implications.

Visionstream is putting an EBA out to a vote without union support. We have been advised by Visionstream that the vote will be held on 31 Jul - 1 Aug. The wage increase is 2.5% pa, but only 1.5% pa for ex-Silcar employees. There will be back pay of ordinary hourly rate for the period 1 Jan - 1 July. Super is 10% of OTE or the Superannuation Guarantee amount (which ever is greater). Meal allowance - $90, TA Capital Cities - $290, Regional - $230. Visionstream reneged on a job security clause - so contractors can be invited in. We are recommending a NO vote. Click for the PDF circular.

We have written to Telstra re a proposed new subsidiary for sales staff. This will obviously make Clause 45 a problem for sales staff. Our letter (via the Vic T&S Branch) stated:

    (We have) been made aware of an initiative to contact Consumer, Small Business and Enterprise customers in order to seek agreement to transfer ("Novate") the "Our Customer Terms" (terms and conditions of the service provision) across to a potential subsidiary of Telstra Retail and Enterprise. Apparently this initiative is well advanced, to the extent of providing a name - "Future Telstra". Given this is a major initiative that could result in the dismemberment and asset stripping of Telstra into a number of subsidiaries, the Branch has concerns on a number of fronts, including what, if any, consultation has occurred about the initiative, and secondly what are the possible effects on the workforce in these areas. In addition, despite media speculation regarding the InfraCo Business unit, and the associated focus on this initiative regarding the NBN Co links, we are concerned that many other initiatives are being planned and significant secret work is being done on these initiatives, without the necessary consultation. Given the requirements of the current EBA, we require an urgent briefing/formal consultation on all similar initiatives, as a matter of urgency.


Field staff have been advised that copper theft is making exchanges unsafe because earth straps have been removed. Telstra list 25 exchanges in Sydney impacted by this theft. As this may be a systemic issue, you need to check every exchange before working in there. You must not make an assumption that it is safe given the widespread thefts.


Conversion of casual to permanent employment: We have reached agreement on many aspects of this new clause, which will provide a process for casual employees to request permanent employment following 12 months of regular casual employment. This request can only be refused on reasonable grounds. It has been agreed that those who convert from casual to permanent employment will have any prior period of regular continuous service recognised for the accrual of entitlements such as long service leave, parental leave and redundancy, along with a retrospective credit of annual and sick leave accrual for that same regular and continuous period of casual service.

Voluntary redundancy: A proposed change to the voluntary redundancy process will provide for employees to volunteer for redundancy at an earlier stage than is currently provided for. The additional time will allow for greater scrutiny of processes, such as job swaps, to be fully exhausted - maximising the opportunity for an impacted employee to remain employed by Telstra. In some instances, it will also allow for outcomes sooner rather than later, thereby reducing the period of uncertainty and the angst that comes with it.

Placement period: The SBU has been pushing for the option of payment in lieu of continuing employment during the Placement Period for individuals who have accepted voluntary retrenchment. Telstra's general view is that the Placement Period is useful for providing transition services and pursuing possible redeployment opportunities. The reality is, if an employee has volunteered for redundancy and volunteers to opt out of the Placement Period - the employee would be doing so with the understanding that they would be walking away from their entitlement to pursuing redeployment opportunities and availing of the transition services on offer. In our view, this would maximise attention placed on identifying redeployment opportunities for employees impacted by change who do not wish to cease their employment. Consequently, it would provide Telstra with overall savings by not providing transition services and assistance to those who do not wish to participate. However, despite this rational argument, Telstra's response is; those employees can opt out of the process, but they will forfeit payment for what otherwise would have been employment during the Placement Period. Discussions will continue around this matter.

Pay: Pay talks did not ensue in depth. However, agreement was reached for any future wage outcome to be paid in addition to the 1.5% already paid, rather than altering and replacing it. Consequently, any pay outcome achieved through these talks will be recognised by a new EBA in addition to the 1.5% already paid, rather than the pay rates contained in the current, nominally expired Agreement.


(From John Ellery) The stumbling block is still the infamous cl 45 wording, that allows Telstra to, in our view, forcibly redeploy staff into subsidiaries, and if this is refused, no payment of any redundancy money will be made. So a refusal to accept a "suitable position" opens up a can of worms.
Further discussion about the extent of the proposed subsidiary arrangements leaves us in no doubt that almost all current Telstra staff could potentially be involved here - not just the InfraCo Business Unit staff. Another possible plan for Retail & Enterprise staff has now seen the light of day because customers may be migrated (Novated) across to a subsidiary Pty Ltd (even the name has been chosen - "Future Telstra") so customers won't be under contract with Telstra directly.
Add this to the other arrangements that have occurred via acquisitions - Telstra Broadcast Services, Telstra iHealth, CloudMed, Ooyala, Pacnet Cable, iVision - the list goes on. We have continued to suggest that there may be a way forward, which is to remove cl 45 and just have people formally "seconded" to the subsidiary, and remain on Telstra's books and EBA. But this is being opposed on the grounds of being "unworkable" - eg Telstra iHealth currently has around 100 seconded but Telstra reps claim this is an "administrative nightmare".

Please note the following changes as we simplify our phone numbers
0428 942 878 dan.dwyer@cwunion.net Dan Dwyer Secretary/Lawyer - for industrial matters & advice
0447 265 443 reception@cwunion.net Administrative eg payments, applications, change of details

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


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