13 June 2021

Only 13 staff are covered by the (Technical) EBA. We did not recommend acceptance of the EBA. All 13 voted. The outcome was 10 NO votes and 3 YES votes. We will continue to improve the EBA and hopefully reach a situation where we can support a vote.

We received several questions from members about the future. As a result we put 3 important questions to Telstra to clarify the position. Telstra did give a reasonably clear response.
It seems that Telstra has changed its position (not unexpectedly) as it studies the details of the split. There are far reaching legal implications - well beyond the employment matters. The full questions and answers are below. There are of course a number of important further questions. These just address the big picture.
Next week we will comment on what this means to you. In one scenario, it may not be much change at all.

Q. Can you please advise the current position re members of the DB (Defined Benefit Superannuation) fund? Basically will they stay in the DBF if moved to a subsidiary?

Telstra: We are still working through this with Telstra Super, but at the stage things are looking positive. We should know in the next few weeks, and once we know more we will update our employees and the union. We know this is an important item for some employees.

Q. On one hook-up we were told that Telstra Corp will effectively be renamed and remaining staff obviously will not be subject to transfer of business. Can you elaborate - eg will it be renamed to one of the InfraCos or ServeCo?

Telstra: The proposed group restructure would see Telstra become three legal entities under a holding company of `Telstra Group'. The three legal entities would be InfraCo Fixed, ServeCo and Towers (trading names to be confirmed). We currently propose that:

  • Towers would include the Towers and Poles business currently in InfraCo today;
  • InfraCo Fixed would generally be our current InfraCo business (excluding Towers and Poles); and
  • ServeCo would hold the remaining functions
    Telstra Corporation would be renamed to InfraCo Fixed. This means that, should the group restructure proceed (acknowledging there are still commercial and regulatory steps we need to take, including a shareholder vote) those currently in InfraCo, excluding Towers and Poles, would likely not be identified as transferring to any of the new entities.
    We are still working through the proposed mapping and alignment of roles.

    Q. Can I assume from what I have seen that Telstra will seek that the subsidiaries be bound by the Telstra Enterprise Award? (I assume this will not occur for sales staff.)

    Telstra:.This is a matter for ongoing discussion. We have recently flagged with the CEPU nationals that we are seeking variations to the award, and award coverage was discussed in the context of the new entities. However, the variations Telstra are predominantly seeking focus on flexibility for our employees, allowing them to work when it best suits them and their circumstances. We are also looking at certain award classifications to ensure that they are fit for our roles of the future.

    The following are extracts from a Telstra statement last week.

      - Given our legal restructure, we're proposing to negotiate four EAs - one each for ServeCo, InfraCo Fixed, InfraCo Towers, and another one for Retail that would cover employees working in our retail stores. The terms in each EA would be relevant to the specific legal entity and support their future success.
      - We'll start negotiations once we've made a definite decision about this approach and we've told you which part of the business you'll work in.
      - We expect the majority of people will work in ServeCo.

    On Friday the FWC issued a statement outlining the settlement that we reached in several matters - bullying, shift swaps and overtime allocation. The bullying matters are confidential.
    However the shift swap and overtime allocation statements will be put on our website in the next day or so and will be circulated to SPF staff via email. If you have any questions or problems, please contact me immediately.

    Putting on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is actually part of your job - and should be done in work time. That was the decision of the Fair Work Commission's full bench late last week after a meat worker challenged Bindaree Food Group's claim that getting ready to be safe at work should be personal - not work time.
    The supply of ample, high quality PPE to protect workers in environments where their health may be at risk when they are simply doing their job has come into sharp focus as the pandemic drags on.
    "Employers should be making accommodations at the beginning and end shifts, but also, quite frankly, either side of meal breaks and rest breaks for workers to be able to apply PPE." ACTU Assistant Secretary Liam O'Brien welcomes the FWC decision that the application of PPE should be on work time.

    We are advised that you can now take paid pandemic leave for the time you're away from work for a booked vaccination appointment. If you're in a customer-facing role, Telstra asks that you provide 24-48 hours' notice and let your leader know so your team can organise to cover for you. Check with your Manager if using this procedure.

    (We reproduce a Bulletin issued by the Vic T&S Branch)

      Telstra (under the name of Darren Fewster) published an employee comms last Friday (June 4th) at approx. 4pm, following a meeting earlier that day with CEPU Divisional Office officials.
      At this stage Branch officials from both the T&S branches (NSW and Vic), as well as the Victorian P&T Branch, have not been appraised of the real outcomes of that meeting, save for a generic bulletin supposedly for distribution to Telstra Branch membership.
      Written by an unknown source the bulletin is advising members to contact their state branch official for further information.
      From a Victorian T&S Branch aspect, we know nothing of the detail of any meeting nor any further information, so at this stage the membership cannot be provided with any additional information, only what we as Branch Officials are putting together bit by bit. Something called "communication" from the Divisional Office is sorely missing.
      What we can glean from the Telstra communication last Friday creates more questions rather than providing any answers. In fact, in an attempt to flag changes to the Telstra Award, the document heading talks about "building choice and flexibility" into the Telstra Award. These words highlight major concerns for those in this union that are aware of these well used bosses terms - whose "choice" and whose "flexibility"?
      These terms, which over the years have been used by the bosses (and their associations such as the Business Council, Chamber of Manufacturers and the Institute of Public Affairs), use language that is designed to mislead and to enable claims to be made to the detriment of the workers, in some instances with the endorsement of "tame cat" unions.
      In analysing the Telstra words it would appear that an attempted watering down of Telstra Award conditions protecting workers rights is on the cards.
      More peculiar is the fact that the Award is currently only used as the benchmark for the BOOT (Better Off Overall Test), which is undertaken as a desktop exercise by the Fair Work Commission when it comes to testing whether proposed EBA conditions, overall, are better than the Award.
      The word "overall" needs to be closely examined - some EBA conditions may be better, but some may be inferior. This "BOOT" has also been the subject of political discussions recently, with the stated positions of many employers wanting to remove the test altogether.
      Another matter to consider is that the current Telstra EBA clause 5.4 (b) indicates that "These awards (i.e. the Telstra Award 2015 and the General Retail Industry Award) do not apply to you when the Agreement operates".
      No doubt there will be certain Telstra Award clauses that may provide a greater outcome for employees, or may apply where the EBA is silent, but if the BOOT is satisfied that you are supposedly "better off overall", you have no claim back to the Award provision.
      All of which makes us a bit wary of the published "wish list" of Telstra (through Darren Fewster) of things like split shifts (opposed for many years by this Union), working outside the current span of hours (and avoiding allowance and overtime payments), job description changes, etc.
      This is made all the more interesting by the current situation of the Award provisions not being directly and clearly part of your package of employment conditions (aside from being used for the BOOT).
      Stay tuned for future developments as the real implications of the dismemberment of Telstra into these proposed new entities over the next few months becomes fully apparent.


  • Transferring to Telstra subsidiaries
  • Forced ARL Fact Sheet
  • Forced LSL Fact Sheet
  • Telstra EBA Notes
  • 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.

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