05 APR 2020

The world has changed in a very short timeframe. We are facing uncertain times. However, while maintaining your rights, compromises may be proposed. With thousands of workers losing their jobs, and the economic downturn, changes are inevitable. As a union we are dealing with issues never before faced.
One thing will not change. Your rights at work are your rights. Your safety at work is a top priority. COVAD19 is deadly and you should follow all the advice to avoid the virus. Your job is the next priority. Temporary changes may be necessary. Management must not use COVID19 as an excuse to trash your rights. We expect management to treat you with respect and discuss any changes and all possible alternatives.
We are here to assist you.

The next pay rise is set out in the EBA and will be paid. The EBA states:

    With effect from the first pay period to commence on or after 1 July 2020, an Employee shall receive an increase in his or her ordinary hourly rate of pay equivalent to CPI, at no less than 1.5% and up to a maximum of 3%.

We still receive reports that hand sanitizer is not available. Reports are that non alcohol based sanitizer is being distributed. We are not qualified to determine if it is suitable. In the last bulletin, Telstra did advise that you could purchase it on petty cash if you have none and you find some in a shop. Telstra is also making special arrangements for older and/or vulnerable workers. Remember the golden rule- you are not required to put yourself on an unsafe situation.

Telstra advise that In addition to the 1000 contact centre roles currently being recruited for, Telstra has made the decision to hire up to a further 2000 temporary roles (through a combination of internal & external/partner candidates). These will be a combination of back of house, front of house and technical type roles. These roles are currently being scoped. The location of roles being recruited for will also be expanded to additional locations including Sydney, So watch for the jobs if you are in the redundancy pipeline or even out.

Many employers are issuing a letter to employees explaining their role. This may be needed in the future to give to any law enforcement authority. Obviously it could only be used for work.

Some members have commented that there is a lack of COVID19 signage around exchanges - where many non Telstra staff visit these days. Telstra advised as follows:

    We have placed physical signage regarding Covid-19 in our most frequently used locations.For other sites, we have been using other methods such as alerts to ensure contractors and w/sale carriers are receiving messages regarding Covid-19. The site access induction codes (scanned when accessing sites) are currently being updated to include Covid-19 messages.

Visionstream has advised of a number of redundancies in the Fixed Network Services area. These have been caused by a downturn in work - not COVID19. Should any member have concerns, please contact us.

We advised Telstra that the lights on the MDF at Parramatta Exchange and Pendle Hill Exchange are not working. Good lighting is necessary for jumpering and members have to compromise eg using their mobile phones to see. Telstra advised that the matter will be fixed by this week.

We have seen several reports that Telstra is requesting that all staff - not just those working from home - take 10 days leave before September. It is described as a "social contract" in the Telstra national email. It states:

    Think of this as a social contract - we're (Telstra) doing all we can to look after your health and financial well being by protecting all permanent jobs at Telstra over a 6 month period and implementing measures such as our new global pandemic/epidemic leave. In return we're asking everyone to take a minimum of 2 weeks paid leave in 6 months - the same amount of leave people would automatically accrue over this time.

Statements from lesser managers tend to look more like a direction.
The legal position is that Telstra can only direct you onto annual leave if you have excessive leave - or during a shut down. See Clause 30.2(b) of the current (2015) EBA
So the answer to the question being asked daily - NO you do not have to apply for leave - unless the above applies.

The nominal expiry date of the current EBA is 9 August 2020. The EBA will remain in force until replaced. The national office of our union has advised that it has written to Post making a number of offers. Neither our Branch nor the Vic T&S Branch was consulted on these proposals so we cannot elaborate at the moment. The most significant offers are:

    1. That Australia Post make application to the Fair Work Commission to vary EBA9 for the purpose of extending the nominal expiry date to 2 August 2021.
    2. That the CEPU will take active steps to support the application. Such steps include, but are not limited to:
    (a) Encouraging vote in favour of the proposed variation;
    (b) Publishing and distributing information that is supportive of the proposed variation;
    (c) Not distributing information that may discourage employees from voting in favour of the proposed variation.
    3. That the Reform Accord, entered in to on 14 October 2015, be terminated on the date on which the variation application is approved by the Fair Work Commission.
    4. That a moratorium on involuntary redundancies take immediate effect and remain in place until 2 August 2021;

We have not seen a reply from Post. The Reform Accord provided a moratorium on certain redundancies and was not part of the EBA. We wonder why a variation to the EBA is necessary. There is no mention of a pay rise. Your next pay rise was due in September 2020.

The Post CEO has outlined actions being taken following cases of COVID19 in the workplace, including SPF.

    Your safety and protecting our people is our greatest priority and that has never been more important as together we operate through the COVID-19 crisis. As I write, we have 11 team members who have been confirmed to have coronavirus. Seven of these individuals have not been in the workplace in recent weeks - either being on leave or having returned from overseas travel and completing their two week self isolation. They have therefore not been into any of our premises since falling ill.
    The remaining four team members have been diagnosed in the last two days in our NSW operations teams. In each of these cases the individuals involved are following Health Department instructions, including self-isolation. We have informed our people at these facilities and completed detailed contact tracing and where appropriate, have asked close contacts to also self isolate to minimise any transmission risk. Thorough cleaning has also been undertaken at these sites to further protect our people.
    I know that news of any number of coronavirus diagnoses is unsettling, but I want to assure you that we are doing everything we can to ensure your safety. Larger facilities have already been operating colour-based workplace zoning for some time and in smaller facilities, staggered start and end times and increased hygiene measures are important steps in virus prevention.

The CEO this week commented on the surge in parcels. She said:

    It has been a week in which we have seen huge changes in our network. Our overall mail volumes are down 45% year on year and so are our international inbound volumes. In contrast we are witnessing huge parcel growth, with ecommerce booming. We have had record days this week, even bigger than our Christmas Peak. Adapting to these shifts is not without challenges.

The matter is still listed for Thursday. Post has now said that there would be no more swaps because of COVID19. While this is understandable, we need to see if this fits their arrangements to avoid cross infection of shifts. For example how they deal with handover and cleaning.

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 365 443 reception@cwunion.net Administrative eg payments, applications, change of details

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



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