16 Aug 2020

We have resolved the email problems which caused our bulletins - indeed all our emails - to end up in your junk folder. Yes it was caused by Telstra, but not deliberately. A new security system was adopted to improve security. Some others also rejected our emails. Sending work emails from home servers appeared as a security issue. So now you will see emails from my home email but with a return work email address.

We had another telephone meeting with Telstra this week but there was no time to discuss classifications in detail. We will with our Vic colleagues arrange a further meeting. However Telstra did advise of its efforts to insource work. This included pole inspections, power inspections and customer activation work. Telstra was looking at other opportunities. This is a welcome change of policy and hopefully will continue. With NBN, nothing can be the same again.

Telstra is also looking at career paths and reported a number of upgradings, including into the new CFW6 job. Telstra also reported on the effort to clean premises and particularly toilets.

This week has seen Post eventually tell staff that they have agreed to a new overtime allocation approach. But we are very concerned that it will not be implemented as agreed! A bizarre circumstance exists as the manager approved one staff member to work 19 hours overtime - only to change his mind afterwards. The issue has caused a number of new issues, and we will be supporting all staff as this unravels.

The Divisional Office notified FWC of a dispute over the coming Authorised Holiday. No progress was achieved. Apparently the matter will be the subject to EBA talks late next year.

The Franchise Council of Australia - representing some of Australia's biggest brands like 7-Eleven and McDonald's- revealed they are attempting to exploit the coronavirus crisis to completely abolish penalty rates. Working people who have shouldered the burden of the pandemic, have been living through a wage growth crisis for more than seven years, and the coronavirus crisis has now driven wages to new lows. Tell big bisoness to keep their hands off our penalty rates. Sign the Petition

Members not employed by Post, Telstra and Optus are covered by NSW icare. NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet is engulfed in scandal over the disaster at his workers compensation agency icare. Shockingly, icare has underpaid 52,000 injured workers $80 million - while its executives make off with huge salaries and bonuses. The CEO was forced to resign for failing to declare a plum contract awarded to his wife.

And Dominic Perrottet was caught out having icare pay for two of his political staff.

Premiums from 326,000 businesses to insure 3 million workers were instead used to fund the Treasurer's political operation. To make matters worse, the man appointed to investigate it all was icare's Deputy Chair when the staffing arrangement was made. Jodi McKay MP NSW Labor Leader Sign the Petition

Extract from ABC News: .(ABC News) A company whose technicians carry out work on behalf of Foxtel, Optus and NBN Co has been accused of sham contracting in a class action potentially involving more than 2,000 workers.

The claim, lodged in the Federal Court last week is against BSA Ltd, a publicly-listed company which turned over $495 million in the 2018-19 financial year. It is the second major firm in the telecommunications sector to face such allegations. Similar action was taken against Tandem in 2018.

Vicky Antzoulatos from Shine Lawyers, which is representing the workers, said thousands of telecommunications technicians engaged by BSA as contractors should have been classified as employees. "BSA set up this system of work . to reduce costs and increase profit, but it's being done at the expense of workers," she said. According to Ms Antzoulatos, BSA's system of work enabled it to avoid paying annual leave, sick leave, superannuation and other basic entitlements.

She said workers bore the full cost of purchasing vehicles, tools, equipment and insurance, and then had to accept substandard rates of pay for the jobs on offer. "Workers were not able to basically make enough money to make ends meet and that has had devastating consequences [such as] marriage breakdowns, going into debt, bankruptcy and suicide attempts," she said.

BSA has denied the allegations and said it "has a long track record of good working relationships with . our independent contractors". "We believe our contracting arrangements are compliant with legal obligations and are in line with those used industry wide by all reputable major players," the company said. "We will vigorously defend any action on this matter."

Sunshine Coast man Stuart Pope worked for BSA between 2012 and 2016, primarily installing and fixing Foxtel boxes. In theory, as an independent contractor, he should have been able to choose the days and hours he worked, and the clients he accepted.

He said that was not the case. "Not one bit - we had to give a three-month forecast of our availability . it was pretty much their way or the highway," he said.

Val Butler from the Victorian branch of the Communication Workers Union said BSA exercised significant control over its workforce. "They're contracted from 7:00 in the morning until 7:00 at night, they have to make themselves available on weekends," she said.

Mr Pope said he was paid a flat rate for items of work completed, regardless of how long the particular job took. "With a service call, you could be there for five minutes, you could be there for two hours. Out of those service calls all we got paid was $55," he said. He said those rates often did not cover the costs of transport, tools and equipment. "You walked away with virtually nothing," he said. Mr Pope said the conditions inflicted a toll on his mental health, which deteriorated further after his father died unexpectedly in 2015. "I probably only had three days off. It was a pretty horrific time for me because what they [BSA] said to me was that there was no-one up there to cover the jobs 'so you've got to go do it'."

Industry at 'pointy end of precarious employment', union says

Mr Pope worked in an industry in which companies have increasingly moved away from an employment-based model of work to one that relies on third-party contractors. Telstra, for example, has shed more than 19,000 workers since 2006 and plans to cut a further 8,000 jobs by 2022. Ms Butler said it was not the sort of job market in which telecommunications technicians could easily shop around. "It really is at the pointy end of precarious employment . in an industry where that's all we seem to see these days," she said.

Ms Antzoulatos said the cases against BSA and Tandem could have wider ramifications. "I think there is a lot riding on this case," she said. "I think BSA and companies like BSA will need to review their work practices and basically do away with their sham contracting arrangements or they will continue to face claims like this one."

In 2018, the Supreme Court of Victoria was asked to consider a workers compensation dispute involving a BSA contractor.

It ruled that the worker "was not carrying on an independent trade or business" and was entitled to be covered by BSA's insurance policy, like a regular employee. That was an encouraging verdict for those pursuing the claim against BSA, but there are no guarantees the Federal Court will view it in the same way.

Whatever the outcome, Mr Pope is much happier now in his new trade as an electrician. "Not much stress or worry anymore," he said. "I get paid for every minute of my job."

The answer: only if the boss has to pay for it. This week the High Court delivered a decision that a day is not a day in the case of sick leave. The law gives you 10 days sick leave - but shift workers with say 10 or 12 hour shifts do not get 10 days. It is now confirmed that a 12 hour shift worker will only get 6 days. The Full Federal Ct had held that the shift workers should get 10 days, regardless of the length of the shift.

The ACTU says that the Federal Government must intervene to protect workers' sick leave in a pandemic. The Federal Government has backed big business Mondelez each step of the way on this court case. Instead of backing in big multinationals, the Federal Government should be legislating to make sure every worker has ten days sick leave protected, and ensuring all workers have access to federally funded, fully paid pandemic leave. ACTU


  • Forced ARL Fact Sheet
  • Forced LSL Fact Sheet
  • Telstra EBA Notes
  • Telstra EBA19
  • Telstra EBA19 Undertakings
  • Superannuation Fact Sheet
  • Optus EBA18
  • Post EBA9

  • 0428 942 878 dan.dwyer@cwunion.net Dan Dwyer
    Secretary/Lawyer - industrial matters & advice
  • 0447 365 433 reception@cwunion.net Administrative
    eg payments, applications, change of details
  • Authorised by Dan Dwyer Branch Secretary
    CWU Telecommunications & Services Branch, Sydney City, NSW.


    Fact Sheets


    Bulletin 40

    Bulletin 39

    Bulletin 38

    Bulletin 37

    Bulletin 36

    Bulletin 35

    Bulletin 34

    Bulletin 33

    Bulletin 32

    Bulletin 31

    Bulletin 30

    Bulletin 29

    Bulletin 28

    Bulletin 27

    Bulletin 26

    Bulletin 25

    Bulletin 24

    Bulletin 23

    Bulletin 22

    Bulletin 21

    Bulletin 20

    Bulletin 19

    Bulletin 18

    Bulletin 17

    Bulletin 16

    Bulletin 15

    Bulletin 14

    Bulletin 13

    Bulletin 12

    Bulletin 11

    Bulletin 10

    Bulletin 09

    Bulletin 08

    Bulletin 07

    Bulletin 06

    Bulletin 05

    Bulletin 04

    Bulletin 03

    Bulletin 02

    Bulletin 01