08 DEC 2019

If the Telstra briefing jargon is correct, you will not be Telstra employees from July next year.
The signs are that you will be in a subsidiary, possibly InfraCo Pty Ltd. (See the Telstra Investor Day reports below.)
This week the Telstra EBA was approved. For a miserable 1.8% pay rise, we lost, for example, the right to stay as a Telstra employee and the right (in our view) not to be directed to take LSL.
Our Branch, together with the 2 Vic Branches recommended a NO vote. The other 4 CEPU Branches actively campaigned for a YES vote, somehow convincing their members and others that this was a fantastic deal. It's not.
Telstra staff, traditionally ATEA (now T&S Branch) members fought hard for better conditions. "Concession bargaining" was never in our language. We gave up nothing. Last EBA this same leadership agreed to reduce redundancy by 4 weeks, by agreeing to include notice in the 80 week cap. This EBA we lost have lost our guaranteed job with Telstra. But, wait for it, we can be forced into a subsidiary. Refuse and there is no redundancy. Supporting an agreement where we had to give up conditions was never our way - and it is not now!
Historically ATEA led the way in Australia with the 36.75 hour week, breaking a pay freeze, technological change, consultation rights and redundancy.
The amalgamation with postal workers has not worked. Telstra members are always up for a fight provided that the leadership is smart and competent. It is lacking. While the postal leadership infamously did a 1% deal with Post and a secret deal in 2015 to keep payroll deductions, the Telstra members have higher aims and ideals. Postal members also need control of officials.
It's time to restructure our union so that Telecom and Postal members can make their own decisions.

We have moved from Leichhardt and we are now at Level 2, 365 Pitt St, Sydney 2000. We are co-located with the Finance Sector Union.

Telstra has advised that 65% of employees voted YES. Some 63% of the total pool of eligible voters participated. The EBA must now be submitted to the FWC for approval.

We have escalated the SPF dispute to the national level. Out letter stated:

    Pursuant to the Australia Post EBA, we escalate a dispute that has arisen at the Sydney Parcel Facility (SPF) and in particular a dispute over Technical Staff rosters. The dispute involves:
    1. Removal of SGF from the SPF rosters.
    2. Fixed (non-rotating) rosters.
    3. Forced permanent night shift.
    4. Forced meal breaks for shift staff - increasing shift lengths.
    5. Changed starting times.
    6. Bullying of staff to fill in unacceptable options in EOI paperwork.
    7. Remuneration and annual leave.
    It is our opinion that some of these changes cannot be forced on staff. Some may not even be possible with a Flexibility agreement. During the course of this dispute we will direct our members to work normally and will not implement any new rosters, or changes to work practices in dispute. We seek the following:
    1. A meeting at the National level to discuss the proposed changes.
    2. An undertaking that no further action will be undertaken to progress the implementation of any changes.
    3. An undertaking that staff will not be approached individually by senior management seeking responses to the unacceptable options in the EOI
    We look forward to your early response.

Post responded referring the matter to Mr Stavropoulos. We have contacted him and we are likely to meet Monday. The response stated:

    I refer to your letter dated 2 December 2019, in which you seek to place a number of matters in dispute at a national level on behalf of your union regarding the proposed SPF roster changes. The roster changes relate to a single facility in a single State, and do not have a broader national impact. I understand that there is currently a Local Working Group, a Steering Committee and a State Consultative Forum in place that have been working through the issues raised in your correspondence, and these are the appropriate forums in which to continue consultation about the SPF rosters.
    Australia Post is committed to giving genuine consideration to the concerns you are raising on behalf of your members, and I trust that further discussions in the above forums will deliver a fair and workable outcome for all involved. If you would like to discuss any of the above further please contact Tony Stavropoulos Head of Workplace Relations for Deliveries.

To help you understand InfraCo we have extracted some text from Telstra Investor Day, 27 November 2019. See Telstra Presentations for more details

InfraCo Assets

We've also been examining how we drive value long term - long term value for Telstra shareholders, and how we balance out building [Telstra] InfraCo and sustaining Telstra's in-market leadership. Also shifting to a more arm's-length commercial operating model between [Telstra] InfraCo and Telstra and that's aligned to other commercial models that [Telstra] InfraCo has already in place.
As a result of the work over the past nine months we've taken the decision to make some adjustments to the asset accountabilities. One of the principles we've used to further review the asset accountabilities was to position [Telstra] InfraCo as the owner of the passive asset accountabilities, and Telstra continuing to own that active asset accountabilities.
Passive - think of linking to driving operational, capital, and fixed asset efficiency. In terms of the assets, passive for towers for example means the physical tower structures - power, the buildings. Active, which is linked to driving customer experiences and outcomes leveraging the passive - so for towers as Channa's just spoken about - think of all the transmission equipment, antennas and spectrum.
So the changes we're making are firstly all fibre will be an [Telstra] InfraCo. Originally mobile backhaul was excluded. However it's a relatively small percentage of the total fibre and we felt it's easier to manage fibre as an end to end asset class with Telstra being able to reserve the fibre it requires.
Mobile towers will move into [Telstra] InfraCo so all of the passive tower infrastructure both existing and for any new towers will be an [Telstra] InfraCo. Accountabilities for all the active equipment including Telstra specific huts and spectrum will remain with Telstra. We felt this was a better model and would give us balance as we focus both on improving the asset operating efficiency and having specific arrangements though SLAs to maintain Telstra's strategic differentiation in mobiles.
Network supporting infrastructure will also be in [Telstra] InfraCo. Our initial announcement indicated that exchanges were included in [Telstra] InfraCo, however there was a lot more work required to break down all of the infrastructure within an exchange, in terms of the accountabilities.
So again, anything that is passive which we've labelled "network supporting" is in [Telstra] InfraCo - so think of diesel generators, access control systems. And all of the active equipment remains in Telstra - think of mobile network servers.
On PSTN and legacy fixed in satellites, this was determined to be better placed in Telstra for a number of reasons. It's predominantly active in that it continues to serve consumer and business customers. The universal service obligation or the USO applies to these customers and there are clear active service levels which must be managed and adhered to. As Telstra will continue to own the USO obligation it made sense to keep the assets and obligations aligned.
In terms of managing these assets we also wanted to keep the workforce together in particular the copper workforce so we maintain our service levels. Also at some stage Telstra may wish to exit these businesses and retire the assets and as part of this all customers will need to be migrated to alternate solutions. This active migration process we also felt is better aligned as a Telstra accountability. So for all of these reasons we felt what is largely the copper infrastructure was best placed to be in Telstra.

InfraCo Separation

I wanted to provide a little more colour on how we're thinking about [Telstra] InfraCo's structures that are likely moving forward. We still have a lot of work to do and fine tuning to do in this regard. By creating separate legal structures for [Telstra] InfraCo and the asset classes along with the aligned financials and business models we'll be able to respond to a wide range of scenarios. We're endeavouring to create as much flexibility as possible for [Telstra] InfraCo and for Telstra with the portfolio in terms of both market outcomes and value.
In this model a fibre co and a tower co could be created with each being run as an independent business within [Telstra] InfraCo. The ownership structures of the co's could be managed to drive growth, open up co-operative arrangements or to maintain Telstra's market position in key segments. It would also be possible to separate individual assets more simply based on market opportunities. [Telstra] InfraCo can also continue to leverage from Telstra's corporate functions through shared service arrangements so we minimise duplication. Again, a lot more work ahead of us on the structures and the business model flexibility. We're off and away with [Telstra] InfraCo as part of T22.

InfraCo De-merger

Can I just start by saying that we're setting up [Telstra] InfraCo for the objectives that we said the three very clear objectives: provide transparency, improve the way in which we commercialise those assets and thirdly to create optionality for the future.
There is a sort of a, a bit of a dynamic where people then therefore presume that leads to somehow a de-merger of our infrastructure assets. That's absolutely not a decision that we have taken. Nothing that we're currently contemplating - we said we wouldn't even contemplate that until after the NBN is rolled out. But it absolutely makes sense for us to structure ourselves in such a way that we achieve the first two objectives and then create optionality for whatever and however the telco market is going to evolve in the future. So I just - I know you didn't say that Ian, and so that wasn't in response to your comment, but I just really wanted to make, and land that point, because there's no presumption here that that is happening. So that's the first point.
The second point is just specifically in relation to your question on what's motivated it. No it's not got anything to do with any regulatory or policy discussions or discussions with anybody else. It's the simple point that as Brendon went through, is that what we're trying to create with infrastructure, with [Telstra InfraCo]3 is really highlighting and identifying our infrastructure assets and ensuring that we operationalise those effectively and manage those effectively. And to Brendon's point initially we had the mobile backhaul out and not as part of it, but in practical reality the mobile backhaul is several strands within an existing fibre link. And practically it doesn't make a lot of sense to separate them. So that's another point I'd make.
Another point I would make is if you think about the mobile infrastructure essentially I always think about it, there is five elements to it really, there's the core, which actually Channa talked about a lot, and that's where we're doing a lot of standalone 5G - and there's that aspect of it. There's the physical tower. There is the backhaul to the tower. There is the radio access equipment and all the technology and the active technology in the antennas and the radio access network. And then there's the spectrum.
Now the passive pieces of those which Brendon talked about which are the physical tower and the backhaul are already subject to open access obligations from a regulatory standpoint. We already have to provide access to our towers to our competitors - then they can apply to do that, and vice versa. And there's a lot of tower sharing that actually happens in the industry. The active piece which is where all of the differentiation and the strategic imperatives sort of come from and in the spectrum and in the radio access network and 5G and everything that we're doing with Ericsson is all basically in Telstra.

From the Vic T&S Branch: Telstra Investor Day briefing 27/11/19 - where will these proposals leave the employees? (Before reading this, download the 40 page document sent to the Australian Securities Exchange which appears on the telstra.com.au web site.)
Closer examination of the "Investor Day" briefing documents from last week gives us a bit of a guarded insight into Telstra's thoughts on where it will position itself over the short term. In between understanding "corporate/market coded" messages on power point slides, as well as some analysis done by James Fernyhough of the Australian Financial review (See last Bulletin), the future for staff employed by Telstra is even more confused. However, the InfraCo vehicle for dismembering Telstra is right there in your face. Telstra appears to be clearly moving to set up InfraCo Pty Ltd as something it can sell a little bit down the track. So if the EBA is voted up, the "Operation Break Up" will begin in earnest.
A move to prepare InfraCo Business Unit (or InfraCo Pty Ltd for that matter) for future sale appears not out of the question, however the accounting speak such as "Asset adjustments" and "optionality" and "flexible business model" give current employees across Telstra very little comfort, if at all. It could well be a case of "precarious" employment in the future.
Telstra need to come fully clean about it's future plans - clear, concise and cut the bean counting accountants' word smithing crap. Only then can the workers of Telstra start planning their working futures. The whispers and thought bubbles of senior management and the Board need to be spelled out, analysed and confronted. This was an incredible company, but now it looks totally like a train wreck, presided over by a Board and senior management who have no consideration of the staff they have used to historically place Telstra in a pre-eminent position, only to then rub their noses in the pile of excreta they have produced. In fact, the Management of Telstra, at both Board level and across the company, need to carefully reflect on the number of Australian jobs they have killed off, the value of the company to investors in its current operation, and a bunch of other issues that have become apparent under their watch.

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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