CWU T&S WEEKLY BULLETIN NO 2021 / 52
22 December 2021
We have reached the end of the year with bulletin 52. Next year will be a big year with a number of EBAs (Telstra, Amplitel, TPG, NBN, Mirait, Optus etc) to conclude, the break-up of Telstra and a number of other challenges to your terms and conditions. The Federal Election and our Branch amalgamation with the Vic T&S Branch will add to the events. We look forward to it!
Thank you for your support over the year.
Unity and action is the only way to defend your conditions. We know that there are many working with you who are not union members. Ask a fellow worker to join you in the campaigns ahead. . (Application Form)
Enjoy the break and we will be back next year with our weekly updates.
Dan Dwyer and the Committee of Management.
TELSTRA BREAK UP - MY OPINION
I have been involved in a number of "transfers of business" mostly disputed ones in the nursing home sector and Aus Post. These were argued in the FWC. I have a very good understanding of the process and the protections needed.
I have been monitoring the Telstra announcements and actions as we move closer to the date of transfer. Special laws allow transfers to occur where no benefits are reduced, and workers' benefits are fully protected.
There are two important indicators to note.
First, Telstra has repeatedly said that it had no intention to remove or reduce conditions in the transfer.
Secondly, their proposals to date are consistent with their stated intention and I am satisfied that your conditions are protected.
Generally speaking, if Telstra did renege, you are technically redundant. But The Fair Work Act says that if you keep all your benefits and are not disadvantaged, then you are not entitled to redundancy payments if you resign. Telstra does not want that.
I will continue to monitor the actions of Telstra and importantly the next letter offering you a position in the new company.
When the transfer happens, you will "take" the Telstra EBA with you, and all your conditions.
The next development will occur when ServeCo initiates bargaining for a new EBA. This will replace the Telstra EBA. Again, Telstra (ServeCo) is assuring us that they will not change your conditions.
I will be monitoring that development as it occurs. Overall, my present opinion is that you will not be adversely affected by the transfer.
You may have specific questions. Please feel free to email me or simply call me directly on my mobile below. Or if you wish, I will meet with you or a group at a coffee shop and I can answer any questions.
TELSTRA PAY INCREASE
On October 1 this year, Telstra paid an interim pay rise to employees. This interim wage rise totalled 1.5% to Workstream employees, and provided a guaranteed pay pool of 1.5% to Job Family. An additional 0.5% was to follow as an overall flat increase to all Band 2 to 4 employees once an Agreement came into force.
Given negotiations are still continuing Telstra has proposed to bring forward the additional 0.5%. All employees, whether Workstream or Job Family, will receive the increase to their fixed remuneration from January 20, 2022, rather than waiting for an Agreement to be voted on and approved.
We do not oppose these interim arrangements outside the EA which ensures members receive an increase in wages as the cost of living does not wait for complex EAs to be negotiated.
However, it is important to note that pay increases payable under any new Agreement at Telstra, or its subsidiaries, have not yet been discussed or agreed to.
SE CONSTRUCTION DISPUTE TO BE ARBITRATED
The dispute moved to conciliation this week, but no agreement was reached. The Fair Work Commission has set aside 4 days for the hearing and determination of the matter in March next year.
The dispute (although more complex) is about Telstra's claim that it can direct any staff to work shift work, including 12 hour shifts. The 21 members involved, while having voluntarily worked shift, object to changes proposed by Telstra and simply prefer to return to day work.
This will be a full hearing with up to 21 witnesses on the union side, and a number from Telstra. The words in the Telstra EBA will be examined in detail. The FWC will decide the matter.
Amplitel (Telstra towers) is a new employer created from the Telstra break-up. It is resolving the Award situation with us and is now commencing the bargaining for a new EBA. A number of staff have transferred to Amplitel. They have taken their Telstra conditions and the Telstra EBA with them. This is covered in the Fair Work Act.
However those conditions only last until a new EBA is voted up. So these negotiations are critical to ensure that you will retain your conditions including redundancy provisions. At this stage we believe that Telstra will not seek to change conditions, including redundancy. There are currently 72 employees in scope. Your bargaining power - that means union membership - ensures the best outcome.
Authorised by Dan Dwyer Branch Secretary