20 June 2021

From 1 July this year, the Superannuation Guarantee Levy rises from 9.5% to 10%. This increase has been delayed by the Federal Govt for many years. It was legislated several years ago - but delayed. The legislation provided for super contributions to increase in 0.5% annual steps to 12% by 2025. But with the current Federal Government, you should expect them to look after the boss and delay the further increases.
If you are in an accumulation fund, you will see the increased contributions. The bad news is that those in Defined Benefit Funds and on salary packages are not automatically included.

While those in the accumulation fund will see the increase, it is bad news for those with a total fixed remuneration. The total is made up of base salary and superannuation. Telstra will not pay the increase - the worker will. Telstra will reduce your income by an amount to cover their liability. Is it legal? Unfortunately, it is part of the employment contract.
ABC News summed it up nicely:

    Large publicly listed companies including Telstra, AGL, ANZ and Macquarie Group are among employers that are asking some of their staff to use money out of their own pockets in order to fund the upcoming 0.5 increase in superannuation payments. Workers have employment contracts that either state their super should be paid on top of their base salary, or that it is included as part of their total package. It is employees in the second category who face taking home a smaller pay cheque.

While postal workers will not see an increase, you can take comfort from the fact that you have been receiving 12% super for the last 5 years. Post employees were given 10% super on 1 July 2013 - 8 years ago. This increased in 0.5% steps to 12% on 1 July 2016. This occurred as a result of an agreement I reached with then CEO Ahmed Fahour in 2012.
If you have a total fixed remuneration package and are not receiving more than 10% super, then read the Telstra story above.

Clause 47 of the current EBA (and assuming it survives the next round of negotiations) allows you to opt for redundancy if you are not able to remain in the Defined Benefit Superannuation fund. It does not apply to the Accumulation funds. It states:

    47.5. For employees of Telstra who are members of a defined benefits superannuation fund, an offer with a Subsidiary of Telstra is not a Suitable Offer unless it provides for continuing defined benefits superannuation membership.

In the recent update, Telstra advised us as follows:

    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.

Telstra plans to keep the current Telstra Corporation, but rename it to InfraCo Fixed.

This is NOT a transfer of business. Nothing changes if you end up in InfraCo Fixed. Clause 47 may not apply .

Legally, it will become a subsidiary. Above the proposed subsidiaries will be a new legal entity to be known as Telstra Group. This will all occur on BUD (the Break-Up Day). There will be other subsidiaries - InfraCo Towers and ServeCo, Telstra International, Telstra Purple, etc. The current EBA will continue to apply to InfraCo Fixed - but may be replaced if a new EBA is agreed before BUD.

If you do not go into InfraCo Fixed on BUD, then you will subject to the Transfer of Business rules. These are generally set out in the Fair Work Act. Clause 47 of the EBA may apply. Telstra have stated that the majority of staff will go to ServeCo.

Aus Post has proposed that a permanent night shift be introduced for technical staff at SPF and SGF. The shift would require 8 staff including a Team Leader. The proposal will significantly affect the shift patterns of existing staff. Aus Post and the Union has agreed to set up a Local Working Group (LWG) to investigate the proposal.

Existing staff cannot be directed to work permanent night shift. A proposal such as this can only be implemented with volunteers and new recruitment.

Unions have won a 2.5% pay increase for a quarter of all workers through the FWC's annual minimum wage case, despite hard-line opposition from the Federal Government and big business. This pay rise will raise the annual minimum wage to $40,175.20 and the hourly rate to $20.33. It will also flow through to those who are award-dependent, lifting the wages of one in four workers.
The increase does not flow to employees covered by an EBA. It only varies the minimum wage and all awards.

Talks continue about a new delivery model. The temporary delivery model (every second day or ADM) expires on 30 June and unless the union does another deal, the old delivery model of everyday delivery automatically resumes on 1 July. Our Branch specialises in technical staff.

The Morrison Government has rammed another ideological attack on the superannuation system through the Parliament, ensuring that millions of working people will be worse off in retirement by hundreds of thousands of dollars. The changes will tie all existing workers to their current funds for the rest of their working lives unless they choose to change funds - leaving the roughly 3 million people who are currently in under-performing funds up to $500,000 worse off by retirement.
This is a bill designed to funnel more working people into bank-owned, "for-profit" funds which deliver smaller returns and ultimately a less secure retirement for working people. It has been motivated by fanatics in the Government's backbenchers who simply want to destroy "not for profit" industry superannuation.
Industry funds outperform the bank funds every year. An industry fund is managed by an equal number of union and employer nominees, with an independent chair. It is a "not for profit" fund and has lower fees, increasing returns.

(We reproduce a Bulletin issued by the Vic T&S Branch - This is long but well worth the read.)

    Start of Day - Field based Telstra staff

    A number of recent issues have surfaced regarding the Management's interpretation of what they say you are supposed to be doing in the UNPAID time prior to paid start of day (and for that matter, End of Day). To make matters worse, the use of various technologies (e.g. GPS and Promise data) for surveillance of the worker is becoming the norm, and it is time to expose these management behaviours.

    The unfettered use of surveillance data from the GPS, combined with data matching of the Promise data, gives the Management incredible ability to surveil, bully, and intimidate individual workers.

    We have now reached a point where the focus is now not on doing the job properly, but on things like whether you have left the vehicle running waiting for a customer, to what time you decided to use a toilet. It has become totally out of control.

    It would appear that a number of team leaders are spending inordinate amounts of their time drilling down into GPS surveillance data. We would have thought there were far more important roles for a team leader to undertake than to be spying on their staff, rather than letting those staff do what they are paid to do - provide a "delightful" outcome for the customer.

    What triggers these investigations is unclear, but there is some indication that it is beyond "reasonable management action", and borders on a number of questionable actions, including bullying. The stress of having "Big Brother" oversighting your day to day work is leading to further stress in the workplace.

    And the added stress of an insecure future in an organisation that is self-destructing is not helpful to mental health, despite all the hollow rhetoric about the employer "caring" about your mental health.

    In some instances, it appears the motivation could be triggered by personal conflicts with the team leader.

    Clearly the job of a team leader should be to provide the worker with the tools, facilities and circumstances to competently complete the job - not to harass and stress the individual. It is becoming apparent that the latter appears to be the current modus operandi of a number of Team leaders.

    To start with, let's look at how we got here with "Start of Day".

    The "Commuter Use" arrangements coincided with the "Home Garaging" of Telstra vehicles about 20 years ago. Prior to home garaging, there was a simple, no fuss proposition - roll up to the depot and punch the time card and start the day in the depot and pick up the work vehicle, along with your first job. The worker was required to make their way to the depot in their own time and at their own expense.

    In the same way, the "end of day" required the individual to finish at the depot in paid time, and clock off. When the "Director" dispatch system was implemented, and with the closure of many of the depots, the pressure came on the workers to safely garage the vehicles in their driveways, and commence to log on at their house.

    The current EBA clause was written 20 years ago, but there are significant differences between then and now. For instance, the expectation on driving to the first job was based on allocation of the job to a geographical location measured by a "number of telephone exchanges".

    The intent was to minimise travelling around the area, and the use of unpaid time by the boss, because you were typically allocated to a very close area to your home. The intent of the logging in (in unpaid time) 30 minutes prior to the start of paid time was simply to allow the Director dispatch system to catch up and allocate work to a geographically close job.

    In accordance with the current EBA clause (and it hasn't changed from 20 years ago) all you have to initially do in the 30 minutes of unpaid time before paid time start is to "commence to log on" no later than 30 minutes before paid start time (typically 7.30 am).

    All that is required in the UNPAID time following that is to TRAVEL (nothing more) without unnecessary delay to the first job. If it will take you less time than the time between getting your first job and the commencement of the paid time (e.g. 8 am), you do not have to start heading to the job that will get you there prior to your paid start time.

    It does not require you to do any other work function in the unpaid time, be that picking up stores, contacting customers, filling up with fuel, remote testing of customers' lines, etc. All of these work functions should be done in paid time, which means there may be claims on overtime for any work function performed before paid start time. If you identify that there is a requirement being placed on you to perform any other work function aside from "TRAVELLING" contact the Branch office to determine whether there is a possible overtime claim.

    Lunch breaks - take them!

    Discussions with members indicate that there is pressure on individuals not to take the lunch breaks as described in cl 16.1 of the EBA. It is absolutely clear - after no more than 5 hrs you must take a meal break of no less than 30 minutes. We have also been advised that the so called "lunch" button through the Promise system doesn't allow a halt to work if you have commenced a job in some circumstances.

    It is a legal requirement in the EBA, so don't be bullied into not taking your lunch break. Please advise the office if there is evidence that you are being pressured into working through your lunch break, and the matter will be taken up.

    GPS Surveillance - gone way too far.

    A number of recent investigations that Branch officials have been involved with indicate a major attempt to increase worker surveillance using both the GPS and the stats out of the Promise dispatch software.

    This is a very worrying development and indicates the willingness and intent of Telstra field management to surveil staff to the level of unreasonable intrusiveness that was never originally envisioned, nor agreed to, at the time of introduction. Never forget that the GPS surveillance was "sold" by some management types as a "safety device" for remote, single person isolated workers, particularly to ensure the "duty of care" in relation to workplace safety (remember the "panic button" that never worked due to network coverage issues, and the incorrect argument knowing if the vehicle had been stolen whilst parked in the driveway/on the nature strip at your home!!!!).

    At the time, we all had a fair inkling of what it was to be used for, but that has been relatively restrained until now. We are clearly a long way from that original management position. In addition, the use of the GPS during times of unpaid work (i.e. start of day, end of day, lunch breaks etc.) prior to paid start time needs some legal analysis.

    The use of this data in an unfettered, unrestrained and unreasonable way to simply "beat up" on the worker is yet another example of the depths to which this current field management group have lowered themselves. It simply breeds further hostility to these managers, who are clearly not there to help staff but to bully and intimidate workers in a last ditch attempt to obtain the last amount of productivity out of a workforce bearing the brunt of inept, incompetent management.

    Some would also argue that this is a very unsubtle attempt to reduce the workforce without paying out redundancies.

    This is increasingly becoming a management pattern of behaviour that needs to be halted. No one wants the boss to be looking over your shoulder every second of the day, watching whether you are using the toilet, leaving the truck running while in a customer's driveway awaiting their attendance, attending an exchange to have a break, picking up materials for the day, whether you are pressing the buttons on the tablet correctly, and using data to either select individuals for redundancy or to terminate them.

    The list goes on. Telstra management clearly should recognize that the best way to increase productivity is to have a workforce that is getting the job done despite all the difficulties, and is motivated to perform, not threatened, bullied and surveilled to perform.

    If you feel that the boss is using GPS and Promise data as an unwarranted disciplinary weapon, contact the Branch office for advice on how to handle the unwarranted intrusion. This is particularly important at a time when there is a clear corporate focus on mental health in the workplace.


  • 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.


    Fact Sheets


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