TECHNICAL AND SERVICES BRANCH WEEKLY BULLETIN 2022
27 March 2022
The EBA has now been certified by the FWC.
TPG EBA PROGRESS
We would like to report progress. But do not worry, there is no pay rise being delayed.
We are narrowing the issues and we have yet to finalise and discuss our log of claims. The next meeting is in 2 week's time. Nothing is agreed and we have yet to understand how pay levels were created. We will soon have another report meeting
BROADCAST AUSTRALIA BAI EBA
The nominal expiry date of the Agreement is 25 June 2022. The last pay increase was on 1 July 2021. Negotiations are about to commence to replace the EBA.
RESERVE BANK GOVERNOR HAS THE FACTS
The governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia, Philip Lowe, has warned Australians they are set to take a real pay cut of 1.5% this year because sluggish wages growth won't meet a surge in inflation.
Lowe said he was hopeful the inflation spike was a one-off caused by supply chain disruption and soaring oil prices due to Russia invading Ukraine, but there were signs that business operators were increasingly willing to jack up prices.
"The inflation rate at the moment is 3.5% and will probably go up to 4.5%, who knows, depending on what happens with oil prices," Lowe told journalists at a Walkley Foundation lunch in Sydney on Tuesday.
"Wages are maybe going up high twos, let's say three, and inflation is 4.5% - that's a real wage cut of 1.5%, so that will obviously affect people's budgets." The Guardian
TELSTRA EBA ZOOM MEETING
Members still concerned about the Telstra break-up and the structures. Many rejected the pay rises from Telstra. Overall, the EBA offer is not sufficient.
TELSTRA INJURY ASSIST
Telstra has engaged InjuryNET (a third party service provider) to deliver Telstra's InjuryASSIST Program for employees as soon as possible following an injury or illness, whether work-related or personal.
While the offer looks good, members must carefully consider following that plan. Injury net were subject to a Senate inquiry some years ago CEPU was involved. An agreement with Aus Post followed.
Notwithstanding, it is our advice not to put your workers compensation matter in the hands of a third party. You may need evidence to support a claim and there is no one better than your own GP and specialist.
TELSTRA SE CONSTRUCTION
The matter has not been resolved and a further mediation is planned .
TELSTRA EBA UPDATE
John Ellery from our sister Branch in Victoria is on the negotiating Committee. This is his report:
It is pretty clear that Telstra want to wrap up the current EBA negotiations quickly, with an intent expressed to the EBA Unions bargaining group last meeting (16 March) that they want to have the final (4) EBA documents out to the staff to commence the required 7 day "access" period.
The Fair Work legislation allows this to occur. Why the haste? The "above award" 1.5% payment made by Telstra from October 1 last year (plus a further 0.5% from 20 Jan 2022) still leaves a fair bit of time to sort out the unresolved items, so there appears to be another Telstra agenda occurring here.
We are only guessing, but the requirement to rapidly complete the EBA process may possibly be linked to some legal requirements prior to the dismemberment of Telstra, or even the award variation process that Telstra has embarked on in the FWC. Whatever the case (or the reason), we believe there is no great haste to complete this EBA using Telstra's timetable.
Let's get some more of the unresolved issues (i.e. the Unions issues including a decent pay rise) sorted before putting the document out for staff to commence the voting process, bearing in mind that the "Fair Work" legislation allows Telstra to "cut and run" at any stage, once they have gone through a "good faith" bargaining period, followed by the 7 day access period, if they so choose. The Unions and the staff have no say in it, nor do Telstra need agreement to do so - the only consideration would be whether Telstra think they can get the EBA (or a number of separate EBA's (which we still haven't agreed to) voted up by staff with 50% of the returned votes.
At this stage, there are a number of crucial points of difference between the joint Unions and Telstra. In addition, very few of the log of claims presented by the Unions (ourselves, CPSU and Professionals Australia) have been agreed to - they were simply rejected after going through the motions of "bargaining".
From the outset, the bargaining group seems to have been dealing with Telstra's "wish list", although we now appear to have modified the excesses of Telstra's claims on "flexibility".
At the moment, the push from Telstra regarding "flexibility" initiatives made by the boss have been resisted, and Telstra have got their "flexibility" clauses, including "split shifts" (but only at the employees' initiative).
We still clearly have a significant list of our combined claims that Telstra has rejected (i.e. put them into the "no change" bucket), including whether there are 4 EBA's, or our position of a single EBA to cover everyone in the umbrella Telstra group.
Hence the issue of 4 separate EBA's (to be voted on by each group of "in scope" staff who have been conveniently divided up) is still on the table from the Union's viewpoint.
Our minds are cast back quite a few years when Telstra invoked an approach of "Business Unit EBA's" (pre Workchoices era) that divided and conquered the then Telstra workforce, leading to incredible confusion about what conditions were applied at the time in that business unit.
Clearly, this time, the Unions don't want a "divide and conquer" approach to voting on EBA's.
In addition, some of the legitimate claims put by the Unions (and in fact the individual bargaining agents) have been rejected.
1) An appropriate pay rise, taking into account future expected cost of living increases that are projected over the life
of the proposed agreement (with a nominal expiry date of 30 Sep 2024)
Currently, Telstra's offer sits at a miserly 2.5% increase at 1 Oct 2022, and a further 3% on 1 Oct 2023.
Judging by the media commentary on various CPI and cost of living indices, inflation will outstrip these "low ball" offers significantly over the next few years.
2) A single EBA for the whole of the Telstra workforce that is voted on by the whole Telstra workforce.
3) Resolution on a number of the claims by the Unions (and individual Bargaining agents) that sit in the "no agreement/no change" category.
4) Of CEPU's 24 documented claims, 15 were met with "no change" from Telstra, whilst a number (e.g. pay, super) were responded to with minimal outcomes (at the moment). These included: Job security, use of contractors, work from home, stand-down, performance bonus, conduct and discipline clauses, rest breaks, pathway to retirement, job family limitations, inclusion of policies into EBA, retrenchment benefit (return of the 4 week notice into the 84/85 weeks payout) - the CPSU had a similar number (with a similar rejection number), and the Bargaining agents had 15. Professionals Australia provided 12 claims, of which 10 were given the "no change" treatment (i.e. rejected).
Aside from the Telstra pursuit of the "Flexibility" clauses, the proposed EBA document looks very much like a "roll over" document (i.e. minimal change), that after closer analysis, seems to offer token resolution to our combined claims.
Authorised by Dan Dwyer NSW Secretary, Sue Riley Vic Secretary
- CWU Telecommunications & Services Branches.