CWU T&S WEEKLY BULLETIN NO 2020 /
03 May 2020
HILLS LTD PAY CUTS TO FWC
We have notified the Fair Work Commission of a dispute with Hills. This follows actions by Hills to secure an "agreement" from staff to cut pay by a minimum of 15%, and 25% for some, without a cut in hours. Staff were pressed to agree within 24 hours or face a veiled threat of stand down. We and members have withdrawn the "agreement" but Hills maintain that staff have varied their employment contract.
TELSTRA LEAVE - YOU ARE NOT ALONE
According to a pie chart circulated in NSW, only 21% of staff booked the 10 days annual leave before September.
TELSTRA FORCED LEAVE - NEW PUSH
Given the failure of staff (only 21% in one case) to comply, Telstra is still at it - trying to get staff to take more leave. One member was even asked to purchase leave so that he could take it! Some supervisors must be falling short of their KPI to go to these desperate measures. We have written to Telstra pointing out that there is no legal requirement for staff to take leave. Telstra, in our view, have now crossed the line and breached the Fair Work Act. We have written to Telstra as follows (extract only)
TELSTRA FORCED LEAVE - OUR POSITION - LETTER TO TELSTRA
We refer to the campaign by Telstra to get staff to take 10 days leave by September. Here we go again. The pressure is on again with a "requirement" to take leave. This is just an example as we have other complaints. As we have discussed there is no requirement to take leave except as provided by law - in the case of a shut down or where there is excessive leave.
This is NOT the case here. There is a significant mismatch between what HR tells us - and what happens in the field.
Let me be clear - we do not oppose Telstra making a simple request to take leave. It is the tactics that we complain of.
Re the emails below: The clear threat. "I know that xxx will be circling back by the end of the week to unsure (sic) that this requirement has been met" (emphasis added)
In the group email, xxx named persons who needed to meet the requirement. Therefore the pressure raises legitimate issues of breaches of the Fair Work Act - where penalties apply Telstra and individual managers (knowingly concerned and directly involved) may be found to be breaching some provisions of the Act, particularly as Telstra was put on notice some time ago.
s343 - Coercion
(1) A person must not organise or take, or threaten to organise or take, any action against another person with intent to coerce the other person, or a third person, to:
(a) exercise or not exercise, or propose to exercise or not exercise, a workplace right; or
(b) exercise, or propose to exercise, a workplace right in a particular way.
(1) A person must not knowingly or recklessly make a false or misleading representation about:
(a) the workplace rights of another person; or
(b) the exercise, or the effect of the exercise, of a workplace right by another person.
It is false to say or imply that it is a "requirement" to take leave. THE RESPONSE IS DEMANDED BY TODAY - 29 APRIL
We require that Telstra (and others) withdraw the emails to staff and apologise for their overreach.
We also require that other coercion, either by way of verbal messages (eg the (higher up) manager will speak to you if you don't) or email be withdrawn.
We further require that all staff be advised that if they felt pressured to book leave, that they should feel free to cancel the booked leave.
TELSTRA - 9 DAYS FORTNIGHT
Nine day workers are still being asked to take 10 days. A reminder of the Telstra HR (Melbourne) clarification. Some gung-ho supervisors are still demanding 10 days from 9 day workers: Telstra said:
8/9 day fortnight and 12 hour shift: I acknowledge that we need to be clear on this point so I will be updating the company FAQ's shortly to reflect that: - 9 day fortnight employees will only need to take 9 days leave over the 2 weeks between now and September.
TELSTRA PAYROLL CHANGES - TRAVEL ALLOWANCE
Members received an email this week advising of a sudden change (2 days notice) to the payroll system. The advice said
Our records indicate that you currently have a specific bank account dedicated to receiving your travel cost allowance and expense reimbursements payments. From Thursday 30th April all travel cost allowance and expense reimbursements will be deposited into your main bank account listed in Workday. You can still elect your regular pay to be spit
We wrote to Telstra (below) and will advise members of their response. Our email to Telstra (extract):
Some members have problems with this as they have separate accounts to cover travel which they can access while away.
We have 3 questions:
1. Was there any consultation with our Divisional Office?
2. Can the 3 accounts allowed be organised so that members can elect to direct TA payments (separate from pay) one of them? (How can this be done?)
3. Obviously the system is working now so why is there a change?
POST IGNORE GENUINE CONSULTATION
Post is not following the guidelines - new or old. All we get are puerile explanations. In order to promote an understanding of the problem, we wrote to Post seeking reasons to support their decision to dump the long standing overtime allocation scheme. Our letter asked:
I refer to the issue I raised at the end of the meeting today.
1. Can you please provide me with an electronic copy of the new guidelines (version 2)?
2. Would you please provide me and the LWG group with the reasons that the old system is no longer suitable and why was change necessary?
3. Can you outline the consultation process you undertook before issuing version 1 of the guidelines?
4. Can you outline the consultation process you undertook before issuing version 2 of the guidelines?
POST LOST FOR ANSWERS
Post replied but could not think of an answer. We wrote back as follows:
Dear ., Consultation does not work that way. Consultation is not about going to a few meetings. You are obliged in law to provide us with all the relevant material to allow us to make an informed decision.
You also have a duty to point out why the long standing system was changed without consultation. If you cannot find any (legitimate) complaints about the old system, we are entitled to conclude that you have hidden reasons to change the system. Please address the questions in my email.
We are meeting again Tuesday.
UK POST CUTS SERVICES ALSO
Following the Aus Post decision to go to alternate day delivery, we received this report:
As people around the UK show their appreciation for posties on National Postal Workers Day, Royal Mail has seen fit to announce plans to reduce the universal service obligation temporarily from six to five day delivery. The official argument for it is due to Covid-19, but UNI Global Union affiliate, the Communication Workers Union (CWU UK), suspects it is
ACTU WEEKLY BROADCAST
Join the ACTU on Wednesday at 6:30pm for the next instalment of the Solidarity Show - the union movement's very own weekly broadcast. The Solidarity Show is here to entertain, to bring us together and keep our movement connected during this difficult time.
Don't forget to register to be part of our live audience and to invite your friends, family and comrades to join us as well.
NEW SPF OVERTIME GUIDELINES
Post issued a new set of guidelines without consultation. They also had a secret list where you can lodge a "do not call" option. That way you are not punished for refusing overtime. This can be manipulated. These are not agreed.
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.