Weekly Bulletin


Number 13       13 April 2022

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Wednesday night, 13 April, 7.30pm

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Telephone 02 8015 6011 Meeting ID: 843 1699 5204

Telstra EBA 2022-2024

Where are we at?

Telstra are required to provide 7 clear days of examination of the documents, prior to a voting period that commences on the following Thursday (14th April) and concludes on the 27th April. The voting period includes the Easter public holiday period, where many Telstra staff have been asked to take extra leave across this period. For those that decide to take 4 extra days of leave (as they have been asked) this leaves precisely 2 working days (the 14th and the 27th) to actually consider and vote. During bargaining, we asked Telstra to delay the voting program until after Easter, but for reasons unknown to us they continued to pursue their timetable, particularly given the proposed pay rise doesn't occur until October later this year. This is just not acceptable, and the vote should be delayed.

What has been achieved?

The main pattern EBA clauses (that form the basis of the 3 separate EBA's - plus the significantly different Retail agreement), have little change, but even some of those are significant to smaller groups of the Workforce.

Breaks in E000 are an example, where the management of E000 can defer the breaks by up to 1 hour if there is unexpected delay by an emergency service operator to answer Emergency Triple Zero calls, This is completely unacceptable because
a) an `unexpected delay by an emergency service operator to answer 000 calls could occur every day especially in Ambulance Victoria until their crisis is resolved, and
b) the Company require your rest break to be delayed by up to 1 hour which could mean every break is delayed!

Maybe Telstra should ensure there is enough staff to answer the calls without interfering with their breaks.

In addition, Telstra want to introduce `preferred hours arrangement' and split shifts upon request of the employee. If you enter into agreed preferred hours, your ordinary hours will be between Monday - Sunday 6:00am to 11:00pm NOT Monday to Friday 7:00am to 7:00pm. This will mean less pay.

Most members will be involved with the 2 larger EBA's - InfraCo and Telstra Limited EBA's, which essentially are pattern agreements when it comes to terms and conditions. The Amplitel (Towers) EBA is written for a much smaller group of staff, but is essentially the same as the other two. The flexibility clauses have reached a point where the management initiative to commence a flexible working arrangement has been removed. So, in relation to the flexibility initiatives pursued by the Management, we have reached a point where they have been rendered basically benign.

However, there has been little progress on the numerous claims formally lodged and pursued by the Unions (i.e. the CEPU, the CPSU and Professionals Australia). We don't appear to have been equal in Bargaining, no doubt due to the reluctance by sections of the Union to "muscle up" and put our last available power equalisation abilities on the front foot. In bargaining, the only power the Unions have is the ability, under certain circumstances, to take legal "protected Industrial action" after an EBA has expired (which it did in October 2021). Otherwise, jumping up and down with words in negotiations doesn't cut it, unless it is backed with determination, planning, and a will to push the Management. All that is now left in this situation is to advocate and develop the "No Vote" plan if we are serious about improving the outcome.

The Telstra Retail EBA which sits as a standalone - whilst being unacceptable in many areas - levers off the very "low bar" conditions set by the Retail Award, rather than the Telstra Modern award. The manoeuvring to bring in the staff of the Vita group (Phone Zone, etc.) will be almost guaranteed to succeed due to the really lo terms and conditions in the long term expired Vita Greenfields Enterprise Agreement. For that group of staff, any improvement to their terrible conditions will be seen as a major win once they are incorporated properly into the Telstra Retail subsidiary.

Unacceptable wage outcome

There are a number of key areas where the unions (.e. all Unions - CEPU, CPSU and Professionals) claims have been rejected. However, the most contentious part of this EBA proposal is the wage proposal (2.5% in October 2022 - late this year and 3% in October 2023, with the Agreement expiring at the end of September 2024).

Since the easing of the Covid arrangements of the last 2 years, there has been a steady increase in the quarterly CPI figure. Bearing in mind that some the official CPI numbers look like:

  • Quarter ended June 2021 - 3.8%
  • Quarter ended September 2021 - 3.0%
  • Quarter ended December 2021 - 3.5%
  • Quarter ending March 2022 - still to be published, but following the CPI graph trend, could be 4.5%
  • Budget prediction end of June 2022 (treasury estimate in the Budget papers) - 4.25%

    Telstra have paid (by "policy" not EBA, as it expired at the end of September 2021) - 1.5% in October 2021 (when CPI for the quarter ending Dec 2021 was running at 3.5%)

    A further 0.5% was paid in late January 2022 (by policy, not by EBA requirement)

    Below is a representation of the figures, in which you will see a worrying trend.

    It is abundantly clear that Telstra workers, despite the claims of "industry leading terms and conditions" are falling behind in their buying power at an escalating rate, due to a number of cost of living factors. By the time the proposed 2.5% is paid in October 2022, the official inflation rate, albeit an "unknown" at the moment, could be much higher than the proposed pay rise. We are estimating it will be not less than 5%, leaving a reduction in buying power due to cost of living increases in the order of 2.5%, and increasing because we are already behind.

    Superannuation confusion - Defined Benefit employees and Super guarantee

    As late as last Friday, Telstra have clarified that, despite some words in official "Comms" that the future Super guarantee (proposed 0.5% in June 2021 and June 2022 ) will not appear in Defined Benefits staff Fixed Remuneration amounts (if the super guarantee increases are resumed by the federal government).

    Clarification from Darren Fewster is as follows:

    No support for this wage outcome? Vote NO - it's your last chance to improve the offer.

    Given this significant difference between what Telstra have offered and the ever increasing cost of living, the Victorian T&S Branch, NSW T&S Branch and the Victorian P&T Branch cannot, and will not, support the EBA with its present wage outcome. Telstra can certainly do better than what it is offering in terms of wage outcome. Enough of these "crumbs off the table" from an employer who has gained incredible productivity numbers from a massive downsizing of its workforce. Put a decent improved wage offer on the table and we may reconsider our position.

  • 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
  • Home Page
  • 0439 762 455 SRiley@cwu.asn.au Sue Riley
          Secretary - industrial matters & advice
  • 03 9663 6815 cdtsvic@cwu.asn.au Administrative
          eg payments, applications, change of details
  • Home Page
  • Authorised by Dan Dwyer NSW Secretary, Sue Riley Vic Secretary - CWU Telecommunications & Services Branches.

  • NSW Branch

    VIC Branch

    Index to Bulletins


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    Bulletin 1