If you have been told that you must take leave at any time, please contact us by phone 0428 942 878 or return email. We will keep confidential your response.
Last week we set out our complaint to Optus. We detailed instances where pressure was and is put on staff to take Annual Leave. See
our letter to Optus
Optus gave a long response. Some important points are
Should your members have prospective leave planned as a result of any individual situations where this may have occurred and are not comfortable to address this directly with their leader, can I please ask your members to either immediately raise this with HR Assist
Optus did not agree to advise managers generally that EBA staff (at least) cannot be forced to take leave.
We cannot accept that response given that this is the second time that we have raised the issue.
SE CONSTRUCTION DISPUTE
This dispute has formally commenced with a series of EBA Step 1 meetings this week. There are a number of issues arising including whether Telstra can force you to work shiftwork and extended shifts. We reject that. We will have a response from Telstra this week. If no agreement is reached, we will move to step 2 of the dispute resolution process.
$5 BILLION IN SUPER STOLEN FROM WORKERS - ACTU
$5 billion in superannuation has been stolen by employers from almost 1.7 million men and 1.3 million women, according to a report released by Industry Super Australia today. 40% of blue-collar workers, including machinery operators and drivers, labourers, technicians, and trade workers, have been underpaid super. Young workers and low-income earners experience the highest rates of theft; a third of those under 30 are underpaid and half of those earning less than $25,000 are missing super payments. 30% of those earning between $25,000 and $50,000 were also underpaid. The Morrison Government must stop this rampant exploitation.
OPTUS FORCED LEAVE REPLY
... Just for the record, the earlier dispute regarding annual leave you refer to are actually matters substantively from last year (2020). As we explained to you then, there were no threats or forcing of leave and I refer you to our correspondence from that time for our position on those matters.
That position has not changed.
In relation to the matters you raise below, these are, ostensibly new matters.
To be clear - Optus is not forcing employees to take leave.
We have a summer break each year where the company reduces its operations down to a nucleus and employees are encouraged to take leave at this time to get some well deserved respite by disconnecting from work.
With travel back on the table, I'd expect that most people do want to take leave at this time of year and after the year (or two) that we've had, it is a time that we expect our team members to want to take some time off and the summer break period is a time we encourage our team members to do so.
In relation to leave directions, while our teams have not been directed to take leave generally by the company, it is not true to say that employees generally cannot be directed to take this leave.
As you may be aware, some employees would be covered by our enterprise agreements and some are not.
Those who are not covered by an enterprise agreement are covered by contractual conditions and/or our leave policy that do provide for taking leave in these circumstances.
When advising your members can I please ask you to take note of this, what their employment arrangements provide for and provide full and complete advice that does not potentially mislead your member/s as to their rights and obligations.
In these circumstances, we will not issue a memo in the terms you have sought in your email or take any of the actions stated in your email.
As we have reiterated to you previously - employees who have any individual concerns should address this with their manager directly and if this is unable to be resolved this can be raised to their next level leader or our HR channels (HR Assist).
This enables speedier resolution of any specific issues and has successful results.
Leaders are expected to discuss leave plans with their team members and actively work with employees who have high leave balances and discuss what their plans are to take leave.
This is with the aim of reducing any perceived barriers to taking leave.
High leave balances for Optus employees are employees who have 8 or more weeks of leave.
This is responsible leave management which has benefits for both the employee from a health and wellbeing perspective as well as the company. Our employees cannot be amazing if they are burnt out.
Those who have high annual leave balances are at greater risk of this.
In this regard we have also encouraged our team members to have an Optus Pause during the year where they were allowed to take time off to unplug and recharge - on Optus.
This did not come out of annual leave balances.
Having regard to what I have said above regarding those with high leave balances, I am not sure I understand the basis of your concern.
As I have expressed to you previously, team members should not have individual annual leave targets as part of their own KPI's.
I have specifically requested you to provide me with any details relating to situations where this has occurred so that this can be addressed.
Once again, I reiterate our position on this and extend the same invitation to you once again.
As I have previously stated, we are happy to address this with any leaders where this may have occurred to ensure they understand our expectations and the employee is assured that their performance rating will not be affected as a result of their own individual annual leave balance.
Should your members have prospective leave planned as a result of any individual situations where this may have occurred and are not comfortable to address this directly with their leader, can I please ask your members to either immediately raise this with HR Assist for support to ensure that this is immediately addressed or allow you to raise it with me.
To be clear, this is not authorised by Optus and we are happy for you to let your members know so they can feel free to raise it through the appropriate channels.
I'll assume that if I don't hear from you in relation to this that the members will raise it in the manner I have suggested.
Authorised by Dan Dwyer Branch Secretary
CWU Telecommunications & Services Branch, Sydney City, NSW.