27 OCT 2019

We have assumed that your pay slip tells you your classification. It doesn't. Members have reported that they have been downgraded from say CFW8 to SW8. Then they are paid an allowance. We have not got a simple way to check. If you have been paid an unexpected allowance, then obviously you have been downgraded.

We do not have an answer yet. We suggest that you start with this. Go to Workday and log in. Open "Compensation". Select "Compensation" from the tabs at the top. In that page the tab "Step" gives some information. Further down it may also display an Allowance called "Salary Maintenance (Workstream)". Also select the tab "Pay Change History" from the tabs at the top to explore more. Please let us know your findings.

We wrote to Post this week to repeat our position and seek cessation of the SGF matter. Post had advised staff:

    I committed to advising any updates on the scheduled removal of the Technical coverage of the SGF facility from our SPF rostering once known. I have been advised that there will be no change to this coverage until post Xmas 2019.

Our email stated:

  • Re the SGF coverage. This matter has not been the subject of consultation with the union as yet.
  • We have strong opposition to the proposal.
  • The matter should not be referred to the LWG until consultation has occurred.
  • There are sound reasons for the current practices to be maintained.
  • Your email infers that the decision has already been made, that you have decided the date and effectively any consultation will not be bona fide.
  • Your email must be withdrawn until the consultation phase has been completed.

We had not been consulted regarding the Engineering Review. We demanded that the proposal be withdrawn, that the form As be withdrawn and that the consultation process restart. We are preparing a Court application re the breach of the EBA. A meeting is proposed for this Wednesday. We will continue to fight to keep these jobs.

No final decision as yet. Telstra has advised of the following:

    Field Service Delivery: 254 volunteers for redundancy have been received within FSD of which we are expecting to accept ~100. Despite the number of volunteers, in many cases there is not a location/skills match for where we have surplus resource. We will always consider job swaps where proposed, but otherwise we must focus our reductions on roles and locations where our work requirements are reducing.
    Networks & IT: It is also proposed to facilitate a voluntary redundancy process for up to 85 roles within Network and Infrastructure Engineering. We have since decided to amend this proposal and accept up to 100 volunteers. I can confirm that this area would be in scope for further review as a result of Telstra's T22 strategy. Therefore, this approach would help to reduce the potential scale of proposed impacts we consult on in this area next year.
    Telstra Contact Centres: It is anticipated that 556 agents at Band 4i would be assigned to one of the new 3ii roles being created. As previously shared, individual remuneration discussions would occur post a final decision being made. However, what we can share are the Telstra Contact Centre remuneration principles by employment instrument type:
    Workstream employees: The Workstream band for the Customer Service Expert is proposed to be CSSW 5. If an employee's current Fixed Remuneration (FR) is greater than the minimum Workstream FR for the new role, this will be maintained. If an employee currently receives a Grandfathered Allowance, their remuneration will not be less than it currently is. Workstream employees are ineligible for participation in the quarterly bonus (no change from the eligibility rules in place today).
    Job Family/AWA/ITEA employees: They will receive a FR which is equal to at least the current applicable minimum Job Family rate. No employee's current FR will be reduced. Job Family/AWA/ITEA employees will also continue to be eligible for participation in the quarterly bonus.

Coming up towards Xmas, the annual pressure on reducing ARL rears its head again, trying to reduce Telstra's liability on these entitlements. Forcing a shut-down means staff may be directed to take some of their ARL credits at a time when they may not want to.
The ability to do this comes from clause 30.2 of the EBA, and typically was used historically when exchange installation staff were not able to work on the Telstra network - and a so-called "embargo" on continuing or commencing new work during the Xmas/New Year period was implemented in order to avoid unplanned outages. We now find that some areas are moving outside of the Xmas/New Year period (the only time that is mentioned clearly In the EBA), to more opportunities such as what was tried on last Easter, and now the Monday before the Melbourne Cup public holiday in Melbourne. Whilst this day may be suitable for a number of Telstra staff, it might be unsuitable for others, particularly if you have limited annual leave, and are saving it for a particular purpose.
The ability of managers to "direct" staff to take leave comes up in 2 instances - firstly if you have "excess leave" (ie accrued 6 weeks at the time of the leave) or, in this case, if there is a genuine "shut down". Many arguments over previous years regarding "shut down" have been had, and would only usually apply at the Christmas /New Year period. The shutdown must be a complete shut down - the doors must be shut, and no-one is on deck - no skeleton staffing, no provision for back up, no exemptions, etc. In addition, the "direction" must be a formal direction, not just an indication that we'd like you to take the time off.
In addition, any "direction" must be "reasonable" to do so, otherwise the direction is unlawful.

John Ellery (Vic T&S) has taken the matter up with our support. His letter to Telstra said in part:

    "This management action was never envisioned by the EBA clause that suggests a "shut down" typically over the Christmas to New Year "intervening days" period. This "shut down" had its genesis when the mainly technical installation areas applied an "embargo" that didn't allow construction work on network facilities in order to avoid outages when there were reduced number of staff available to fix any outages during this period. Typically this period began on Christmas Eve and ended early in the New Year - ie the intervening days, depending on the calendar. In fact, when this matter was raised earlier in the year regarding the Easter period, the use of Annual leave was "encouraged" rather than being subject to an unreasonable "direction".
    The EBA clause requires that there be a total "shut down" - that means no staff and the doors closed - no staff member works in that part of the business (or the whole business). This has been the accepted understanding precedent and convention over the many years this clause has been in the EBA. We now find, for whatever reason, that some managers are extending their ability to unilaterally declare a "shut down" at what would seem to be, for them, a suitable time.
    At the same time, they are indicating that there will be exemptions !! So clearly this is not a "shut down" by any definition, just a decision made by Management to reduce the Annual Leave entitlements (and the financial liability of Telstra) of many Telstra staff. There appears to be a perception that staff need to take a work break ("time off and unwind"), albeit at the manager's initiative. Many issues arise from this decision, including the longer term planning of many staff in relation to their Annual Leave requirements.

For information of NSW T&S members: CEPU Members in Melbourne have received an email Thursday regarding an attempt to declare a "shutdown" and apparently direct staff to take annual leave on Mon 4 Nov, the working day before the Melbourne Cup Holiday.

Talks continued. Pay and LSL was not discussed. Clause 45 (now Cl 48) was discussed and this is the likely position:

    Cl 45 does not apply to all redundancies; it only applies to redundancies that occur because work from Telstra has been transferred to a Subsidiary. Where this occurs, the person has Cl 45 apply to them and instead of being made redundant from Telstra they may be offered the opportunity to `follow' the transferring work to the Subsidiary. Telstra's requirement to pay retrenchment benefits will only be displaced if the offer to move to a Subsidiary is a suitable offer. A suitable offer is a written offer of employment with a Subsidiary of Telstra:
  • To perform the same or substantially the same work;
  • on terms and conditions substantially similar to, and considered on an overall basis, no less favourable than the conditions held at Telstra;
  • that recognises service with Telstra;
  • that provides 15 days paid personal leave each year (pro-rata for part time employees);
  • that provides your ordinary hours of work will be no more than an average of 36_ hours each week; and
  • that provides that your retrenchment benefits will be calculated:

    • In accordance with the scale in section 10 if your job with the Subsidiary is made redundant and you are retrenched; and
    • by reference to your Fixed Remuneration at Telstra at the time the offer is made, or the fixed remuneration at the time you are retrenched by the Subsidiary, whichever is higher.

  • That provides for the continued membership in the defined benefits superannuation fund for employees who are existing members.

There are still some issues with the above. For what legal agreement will guarantee the above? Can you refuse outright a transfer to the subsidiary? The next meeting may be on 31 Oct.

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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