employee requests for secondary employment and training.
FAST TRACK AGREEMENT VARIATIONS DENY YOUR RIGHT TO KNOW
Previously, employers were required to give at least 7 days' notice of any proposed amendment to your EBA before it could be put to a vote by workers. That time period - known as the access period - will now be reduced to a minimum of 1 day. In that 24 hours, you need to get advice from your union and other sources. It is far too short and you may be asked to vote without full understanding of the amendments. Thank you ScoMo for taking advantage of Covid!
On 8 April 2020, a Full Bench of the Commission varied 99 modern awards to provide millions of award-covered workers with an entitlement to 2 weeks unpaid `pandemic leave' and the flexibility to take annual leave at half pay. The variations will operate until 30 June 2020, unless extended.
HILLS PAY CUTS
Members at Hills performing telecommunications work have expressed concern that they were rushed into agreeing a pay cut of a minimum of 15%. The CEO addressed the staff and asked that all staff agree to certain cuts by COB the next day. Most agreed. However staff did not get advice and simply returned an email with the words "I agree", We have advised Hills that several named staff (union members) now withdraw that consent as they were not making a decision with full knowledge of the facts eg JobKeeper. Hills has refused stating that staff have agreed to a contract variation. And Hill will not agree to any further contract variation. We will advise further.
TELSTRA MISLEADING ABOUT ANNUAL LEAVE
Telstra has requested that all employees take 2 weeks annual leave between now and September as a means of reducing their leave liability. Some employees extended the Easter break by one week, and are expected to take another week before Sept. It is important to know that Telstra cannot direct you to take annual leave, unless the annual leave clauses in the Enterprise Agreement are enacted:
i) If Telstra is shutting down all or part of the business for a period, such as Christmas or New Year;
ii) If you have accrued more than 6 weeks of annual leave (7 weeks for continuous shift workers) - though Telstra won't leave you with less than 4 weeks accrued annual leave if Telstra does this (or 5 weeks if you are a continuous shift worker).
The period between now and Sept does not provide any of the reasons as stated above to direct you to take your hard earned Annual Leave. You and your manager must agree on the time that you take annual leave (Vic T&S Branch)
3500 NEW JOBS CREATED AT TELSTRA
Telstra have informed the unions there are now 3500 new temporary roles (between 3-6 months.) These will be located across all states. In addition to the 1000 contact centre roles already announced Telstra will recruit 2500 temporary roles within Consumer & Small Business, Global Business Services and a small number of roles in Networks & IT and InfraCo.
The 2500 will be a mix of contact centre and back of house specialist roles covering customer service, order provisioning and testing, complaints management, credit and fraud management, internal helpdesk and team leading. The roles are predominately Band 3i, 3ii, 4i and a small number of band 2. Some of the 3500 roles will be work from home, so can cover regional areas if you are not located in the city.
The new jobs created are a direct impact of the offshored work in India and The Philippines that has been shut down. Does it have to take a pandemic crisis to keep Australians in work in Australia? This work should never have been taken out of Australia. Let's keep Australian made happening.
WORKERS COMPENSATION CONCERN - MORE TELSTRA SAVINGS?
We are representing a member who worked for Telstra and had a serious accident while driving the Telstra vehicle home from a job - pursuant to an end of day provision in EBA Clause 67. The (Telstra) Reconsideration Officer said:
".. an employee is expected to travel up to 30 minutes in their own time .and this is not paid work.. I am satisfied that travel was between your usual workplace of work and your residence and was not a journey that was at the direction or request of Telstra."
This decision is a major concern and contrary to all previous advice and assurances. We have appealed the decision on behalf of the member and will advise of progress.
SUPERANNUATION - PART 2
Last week we provided an overview. Now we will address some details. You can be assured that the funds have ample cash to pay members. Over the past years, funds were required to increase their liquidity (cash availability). The most obvious way to do this was to put money into banks or bonds - unfortunately interest rates are low but it a secure investment. Secondly equities (such as shares) can be converted to cash - but they are considered a higher risk as the share markets can turn around. Funds typically will have significant investments in equities, both in Australia and Internationally. Risk management is also a bread and butter issue for funds. They have factored in downturns - using the GFC in 2008 as a yardstick. So liquidity should not be a problem. (Note: We do not give financial advice)
WORKING FROM HOME TAX CONCESSIONS
The Australian Taxation Office announced special arrangements this year due to COVID-19 to make it easier for people to claim deductions for working from home. The new arrangement will allow people to claim a rate of 80 cents per hour for all their running expenses, rather than needing to calculate costs for specific running expenses. See the ATO site for more information.
VIP - CONTACTING US - NEW PHONE NUMBER
Please note the following changes as we simplify our phone numbers
0428 942 878
Dan Dwyer Secretary/Lawyer - for industrial matters & advice
0447 365 443
Administrative eg payments, applications, change of details
Authorised by Dan Dwyer Branch Secretary
CWU Telecommunications & Services Branch, Sydney City, NSW.