CWU T&S WEEKLY BULLETIN NO 2020 /
13 Sep 2020
NOTICE OF ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
The Branch Committee of Management has determined that the Annual General Meeting be held on
Wednesday 16 September 2020 at 6.00pm
Given the Covid situation, the BCOM advises that the meeting be open to members via telephone and Zoom.
JOIN AGM BY PHONE
Phone 02 8015 6011 Meeting ID: 874 4228 1648 Password:
JOIN AGM BY ZOOM
Download the free app "Zoom" to your phone, pad or computer. Click the link below or enter meeting ID and password.
BUSINESS OF THE AGM
Rule 64 states:
(d) At every Annual General Meeting of a Branch the order of business shall be as follows:
(i) Reading and confirmation of Minutes.
(ii) Correspondence read and dealt with.
(iii) Appointment of Returning Officer and Auditor.
(iv) Presentation of the Secretary's Annual Report.
(v) Motions of which Notice has been given.
(vi) General Business.
The Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act also requires that the Annual Accounts be presented to a meeting of members and the Branch accounts for the year ending 31 March 2020 will be presented to the AGM. The accounts are at Branch Annual Accounts.
TELSTRA TOILET CLOSURES
Our article last week and the Telstra bulletin caused a strong reaction to field staff including contractors. It is well summed up in the articles below. Telstra has not released the list of exchanges for NSW as yet.
As for feedback, here some comments:
Some of the toilets I've been in are so far run down they're a health hazard. Lead paint peeling of walls toilets leaking water, toilets blocked. Also not maintained, water turned off urinals, stinking it's shocking, bird dropping, rubbish build ups, some are fire hazards with packing everywhere they're just absolutely s**t holes now.
NO DUNNIES, NO DEAL (EXTRACTS FROM VIC T&S BULLETIN)
Increased amount of unhealthy activities such as urinating and defecating in the surrounds of the exchange, and particularly in rooms that are not as well used. This behaviour has been reported over the years
Use of Public toilet facilities that are, at best, dubious.
Reliance on local councils to provide facilities in lieu of Telstra providing facilities for their staff and contractors is disgraceful.
Staff with medical conditions need easy access to clean toilet facilities.
Field staff in vehicles need access to toilet and washing facilities, particularly if they are eating in these areas.
A recent bulletin (Changes to Exchange Amenities) really highlights how bad Telstra lowered itself with its bean counter driven mentality. The latest attempt to rationalise the cleanliness in Telephone exchanges - something that has been a major OHS sore point for decades, has now been circulated.
It contains some breathtaking assertions that Telstra is now going to IMPROVE the cleanliness in exchanges by closing toilet facilities in 145 exchanges across Australia, 40 of which are in Victoria, and rely on either public toilets or commercial facilities, such as McDonalds. In other words, get rid of the cleanliness problem and cleaning costs by removing the toilets and pushing the responsibility elsewhere.
Just like the lunch room closures, the toilet closures are symptomatic of a Management group focussed on the dollar, not the human beings that work for them.
We can only see this backward initiative in generating unhealthy and unsafe workplaces, as opposed to what Telstra is legally required to do under the OH&S Act. We see problems, such as:
Telstra need to provide clean and safe washing, toilet and lunch room facilities in all of their exchanges, including rural areas. The Union is calling on the Management of this area to resist the bean counting agenda, and reinstate proper, clean, sanitized exchanges as a matter of urgency. Particularly at a time when there is major focus on personal hygiene in the Covid era.
EXCHANGE STAFF FACILITIES - WHAT IS TELSTRA REQUIRED TO PROVIDE?
The following correspondence has been sent yesterday to Telstra's Corporate Employee Relations:
"Re: Provision of Toilet and hot water washing facilities in Telephone Exchanges"
A recently advised staff communications to a number of areas in the N&IT areas raises OH&S concerns about Telstra staff currently utilising these facilities.
It would appear around 145 exchanges (including 40 in Victoria) are having, or already have, their toilet and hot water facilities closed. This initiative flies in the face of a focus on OH&S and hygiene in the current Covid climate, but also raises some serious compliance issues in relation to a Commonwealth Code of Practice that was signed off in 2015 by the then Minister Cash.
This code of practice (known as Managing the Work Environment) requires employers under the Comcare jurisdiction to provide a specified number of facilities in these workplaces, including the provision of toilets, and hot water. The initiative by Managers of this area appears to breach these requirements. On top of that, the proposed passing of responsibility for the provision of these facilities to local council public toilets and commercial premises (e.g. McDonalds), as indicated in the staff communications, is highly dubious.
Your urgent attention to this safety and hygiene issue is requested. We suggest that a withdrawal of this ludicrous initiative be immediately undertaken, and provision made to properly clean these existing facilities. It would appear the initiative is being driven by bean counting focussed managers who have scant regard for the health and safety of their own workforce, including contractors."
In that correspondence, there is reference to a Commonwealth "Code of Practice" - Work Environment and Facilities (developed by Safe Work Australia), signed off in December 2015 by then Employment Minister Michaelia Cash, in accordance with s 274 of the Commonwealth Health & Safety Act. The 34 page code is a document, designed by the government, to ensure workplaces that come under Commonwealth OH&S jurisdiction comply with that legislation. The code requires that the employer should provide, so far as reasonably practicable, facilities for employees in workplaces. It is entirely arguable that provision of these facilities is legally required, and the "reasonably practicable" get out clause doesn't extend to a poorly thought out cost saving initiative. A copy of the "Code of Practice" is available on our website www.cwuvic.org.au. (John Ellery)
SUPER UNDER ATTACK
While the Government looks to "review" super contributions, the strength of the industry (union) funds is worth considering. The largest industry fund reports that the long-term performance of its balanced option, where approximately 90% of members are invested, remains strong. For the 10 years to 30 June 2020, the balanced option has delivered a return of 8.77% pa.
Over 20 years it was 7.24% pa. Over the shorter term - the 12 months to 30 June 2020 covering the Covid setback, the return for this was positive 0.52% pa.
Workers have carried Australia through the COVID19 crisis. They have already made a lot of sacrifices but now some employer lobbyists are trying to exploit the crisis to make deep cuts to workers' rights. Will you sign the petition to stand with the union movement to support the hidden heroes of the pandemic? Stand with Australian Unions to support the workers.
In unity, Sally McManus.
POST RECORDS ONE OF ITS BUSIEST DELIVERY DAYS,
Post has recorded one of the busiest delivery days in its history, with about 2.35 million parcels and letters dropped off around the country last week. Ms Holgate says there will be no postie redundancies despite letters in metro areas being delivered every second day. But the service is struggling to keep up with demand and is plagued with delays, particularly in Victoria where online shopping is booming but the workforce is limited by the lockdown.
There is an average one-day delay for parcel delivery in NSW, while in Vic it is 3-4 days.
"We're having to charter planes . I have 18 pop-up processing facilities . I spent $20 million extra on PPE for our people." Ms Holgate said.
Highest growth categories in Vic compared to last year were: home and garden (207%), food and liquor (203%), variety department stores (195%)
LETTERS NOW BEING DELIVERED EVERY SECOND DAY
From this week, letter delivery will be reduced to every second day in metropolitan areas under temporary relief measures granted by the government.
An internal memo appears to show 1 in 4 posties will be unassigned under the new delivery model. "[They] will be in a van delivering parcels, most likely," CEO Holgate said
WORKERS HAVE A RIGHT TO TAKE TOILET BREAKS, COURT RULES
For the first time an Australian court has ruled workers have a legal right to go to the toilet and drink water while at work.
The Federal Court was forced to decide the issue after the general manager of a McDonald's franchise made a Facebook post to a group of its crew members telling them the company had no obligation to let them go to the bathroom outside scheduled breaks.
"The right to access the toilet or a drink of water was, in my view, a workplace right," Justice Logan concluded.
But Justice Logan found this was "a reckless falsehood and a serious one at that" because workers were entitled to use the bathroom when reasonable in addition to the paid 10 minute breaks.
THE (ONE NATION) MAIL MUST GET THRU
Post CEO Christine Holgate threatened to call police unless the City of Melbourne delivered more than 100 of Pauline Hanson's branded stubby holders to every apartment in a locked-down suburban public housing tower in July.
Ms Holgate's written ultimatum came days after Senator Hanson had labelled residents of the Melbourne towers "drug addicts" and "alcoholics", and at the same time Post was attempting to win over One Nation's vote to ensure a temporary relaxation in daily postal services was not overturned by the Senate.
The Queensland senator had referred to the residents of the towers as "from war-torn countries" and said "probably English is their second language" and they had not "adhered to the rules of social distancing". The stubby holders in the parcels were accompanied by a hand-written note from Senator Hanson saying "no hard feelings". (extract from SMH)
Ms Holgate, who earned $2.7m as the nation's highest-paid public servant last year, is also the federal government-appointed chair of the Australian-ASEAN Council Board. She has come under fire in recent weeks for attempting to convince Post's board to pay out more than $7m in bonuses to executives despite declaring in March she and her senior colleagues would waive any right to bonuses because of the COVID-19 induced economic downturn. While the board eventually rejected the about-face, Ms Holgate was paid a deferred bonus of $277,000 from last financial year.
Authorised by Dan Dwyer Branch Secretary
CWU Telecommunications & Services Branch, Sydney City, NSW.