CWU T&S WEEKLY BULLETIN NO 2021 /
9 September 2021
We strongly recommend getting the jab. A vaccine exists that can save your life. Unlike some life saving drugs, it is free. And it is voluntary. As is your right to keep medical issues private. And we need a safe workplace. Help us all by getting the jab.
JOINT STATEMENT FROM BCA & ACTU ON MANDATORY COVID-19 VACCINATIONS
Unions and business are committed to working cooperatively with governments to keep workplaces safe and to achieve the highest possible rates of vaccination though building confidence in the vaccination program and supporting workers to get vaccinated. The ACTU and the BCA acknowledge that the Federal Government's COVID-19 vaccination policy is that it should be free and voluntary. We believe that for the overwhelming majority of Australians your work or workplace should not fundamentally alter the voluntary nature of vaccination.
Employers and unions recognise that for a small number of high-risk workplaces there may be a need for all workers in a workplace to be vaccinated to protect community health and safety. These are serious decisions that should not be left to individual employers and should only be made following public health advice based on risk and medical evidence.
The ACTU and the BCA call on governments and the National Cabinet to support this position and ensure that where mandatory vaccination requirements are necessary, they are implemented through the use of nationally consistent Public Health Orders.
TELSTRA - JAB 4 JOB - PENNS LAW
Telstra took a different path to the BCA and ACTU. Telstra proposed a mandatory jab policy up front - Refusal to get the jab may lead to medical retirement was their statement to workers.
Telstra has notified staff and next day the union of its intentions to seek to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for parts of their workforce if
- You frequently interact with customers and other members of the public;
- You are required to work in high-risk locations with vulnerable persons or in locations that might lead to COVID-19 outbreaks if infected people come into contact with members of the public (eg. Medical facilities, aged care centres, schools, shopping centres, indigenous communities);
- You are required to attend work (ie. You cannot work from home) and work in close proximity with other employees or customers; and
- Government/health regulations stipulate that you must be vaccinated to enter a location or premises.
Under the proposal, employees would have until Friday 15 October to receive their first dose, and must receive their second by Monday 15 November. Telstra will accommodate exceptions if workers are unable to secure bookings by these dates.
CONSULTATION WITH TELSTRA
Telstra organised consultation with unions the day after they advised staff.
They indicated that they may tinker with the policy.
We have another meeting this Friday. Our Branch has asked questions
(Others asked questions as well)
We made it clear that the Branch will not support the threat of medical or other termination of members who do not get the jab.
TELSTRA Q&A - BRANCH QUESTIONS - LATE NEWS
Q1. If I have had the jab, I can still catch Covid - Can Telstra explain the benefit of a mandatory jab?
A1. We have an obligation to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our people (and customers who come into contact with our people). Vaccination is one of the most effective ways of preventing serious illness arising from COVID-19. Our position is that vaccination is the best approach to managing risks and that it is required for roles where there is regular contact with customers or other employees.
Q2. If I have had the jab, and contract Covid, I can still infect others with Covid. - Can Telstra explain the benefit of a mandatory jab?
A2. Please see response above.
Q3. If I catch Covid in the course of my employment, does Telstra agree I am covered by workers compensation?
A3.Australians who suffer injury and loss of income due to reactions from their COVID-19 vaccine may be able to register their intent to claim access to compensation via the Federal Government `No Fault COVID-19 Indemnity Scheme'. More information about this scheme can be found here COVID-19 vaccine claims scheme | Australian Government Department of Health.
Employees continue to have the right to lodge a workers' compensation claim with Telstra for an injury/illness related to COVID, and we will assess whether they may be entitled to compensation as a result of loss of income or medical expenses incurred.
Q4. If I get the jab solely for the purposes of complying with the mandated requirements of Telstra, and I have a reaction, does Telstra agree I am covered by workers compensation?
A4. Please see response above.
Q5. If I do not have the jab, for whatever reason, will Telstra accept Rapid Testing as the alternative?
A5. Telstra would require employees to be vaccinated within the timeframes specified in policy. We'll consider exemptions on medical grounds. In these cases we'll ask you to provide appropriate supporting evidence from a qualified medical practitioner with details as to why a medical exemption is required. We may seek independent medical advice to validate a requested exemption. Telstra will continue to monitor the developments and health advice in relation to rapid testing and may consider it as an option in the future.
Q6. Exemptions - some members have an underlying medical condition which does not affect employment and may prevent receipt of the jab. While they can provide a medical exemption, they wish that their condition remain confidential. Can you accommodate that position?
A6. All of your information in relation to the exemption request will be treated confidentially and will only be used for the purpose of considering the exemption. Telstra and the below parties may need to share relevant information related to the medical reasons why an employee is not able to be vaccinated with one of the approved vaccines available in Australia and consent will be sought from the employee to do this.
Your nominated treating practitioner - Any independent assessor - Your People Leader - HR advisor - Telstra's Safety, Security and Wellbeing team - Workplace Rehabilitation Provider (where required)
Q7.. Messaging - The NSW Govt, with quality medical advice, closed and then reopened Bunnings to the public. Most retail stores remain open with safeguards. Why is Telstra different?
A7. We have an obligation to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our people (and customers who come into contact with our people). We have made the decision to close our stores at this time (with click and collect available from some locations) in response to the current and evolving situation in NSW. We will continue to monitor the situation and be guided by health advice.
POSTAL MEMBERS VOTE UP EBA
The Post EBA was voted up by a ballot of all staff: It was supported by 4 Branches (NSW P&T, Qld, SA and WA) and was not supported by 4 Branches (NSW T&S, Vic T&S, Vic P&T and Tas). Notwithstanding, 90% nationally voted for the EBA. This was heavily influenced by NSW with 98% support from one third of the voters. See a
full breakdown here.
The EBA will now be sent to the FWC for ratification. This takes some weeks.
POST RESULTS IMPROVING
The following is a summary from Post of its annual result:
With COVID-19 driving continued growth in eCommerce we achieved the following:
- New record revenue of $8.27 billion - up 10.3% on last year
- $100.7 million profit before tax - up 87.7% from $53.6 million last year
- Parcels & Services revenue growth of 17.7% to $6.48 billion
- StarTrack volumes up 12.1%
- 90.6% revenue growth for AP Global, delivering 40 million global eCommerce parcels
Our Post Office Network also performed strongly, and we proudly kept 99 per cent of our Post Offices open despite pandemic challenges. This enabled our customers to access important services, including Bank@Post, for which we signed landmark extensions with CBA and NAB for a further 10 years.
While our performance for FY21 is strong, our overall result was tempered by the ongoing decline in addressed letter volumes - down 11.6%- leading to a fall in letters revenue of $202 million.
TELSTRA'S SPRING OFFENSIVE - ARL DEMANDS AGAIN
While we have no objection to voluntary requests, these demands for a single day or two of ARL are not on. We are following up with National advice. Telstra's latest demands were as follows:
Over the coming days, we will communicate to our people a number of tools and initiatives focussing on their wellbeing and reducing workplace pressure. Included in this will be a spring leave campaign that aims to encourage our people to collectively (where possible) take a break from work to recharge. The campaign includes two key initiatives, summarised below:
Take 1 get 1 free - September/October bonus leave day
- We're asking employees to take Friday 1 October as an A/L or Telstra Leave Day.
- Those who do will receive a bonus leave day to take at a time agreed between the employee and leader in Sept/Oct between 1 September and 29 October.
- For those in ACT, NSW, QLD & SA this will result in a 4-day weekend, given Monday 4 October is a Labour Day or Queen's Birthday public holiday.
- This initiative is open to international employees.
1 November - we're all taking a day off
- We're mandating for all Australian based employees that Monday 1 November 2021 be taken as annual leave, or a Telstra Day
Authorised by Dan Dwyer Branch Secretary
CWU Telecommunications & Services Branch, Sydney City, NSW.