CWU T&S WEEKLY BULLETIN NO 2021 / 49
28 November 2021
WE FORCE OPTUS TO CHANGE ANNUAL LEAVE POLICY
We have won this battle for our members. Optus HR policy unlawfully stated that they could direct EPA staff to take annual leave. Thus Optus unlawfully forced staff to take leave in the following circumstances:
Optus went so far that they were pre-filling annual leave applications.
OPTUS ANNUAL LEAVE - WHAT TO DO NOW
If you were forced to take leave, you are now free to cancel that leave.
It is your right. It is a serious breach of the Fair Work Act if Optus tired to force you to take leave.
Even individual managers and Team Leaders could be personally liability. Penalties exceed many tens of thousands of dollars.
OPTUS ANNUAL LEAVE - THANK YOU
We thank the members who contacted us and provided the information we needed to stop this unlawful activity. In the end we did not need to reveal any names to Optus. Your fellow workers also thank you.
TELSTRA NEW EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT - THE BIG PICTURE
Telstra is about to issue new employment contracts as you move into new entities. It is a "transfer of business". This is just a big picture report - we will cover more detail later.
You need a new contract.
Telstra may add other matters which will require legal scrutiny by us. We have not seen any offer at this stage and we will comment when we see the offers.
TELSTRA NEW EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT - THE BIG PICTURE - REDUNDANCY
Technically, on transfer day, you are redundant in Telstra. Your employment with Telstra is terminated. You are joining a new employer (eg ServCo) with no history. But for the Fair Work Act, you are entitled to redundancy.
TELSTRA EBA - WHERE IS IT UP TO?
The following is a report dated 23 Nov from John Ellery from our colleague John Ellery (T&S Branch) Vic.
Significant resistance to the "Saturday" push has come from all Unions, but now Telstra have modified that to the extent of "ring-fencing" (their words) customer service areas to bear the pain. They have now withdrawn the proposal on Saturdays for all other Telstra staff (including the field areas), but we suspect it is clearly a longer term aim. At present, the justification on this for Customer Service only is so they can be "cost cut" against the possibility of using on shore based outsourced labour hire providers.
Arguably, this is a lever being pressed by Telstra in seeking to lower the terms, wages and conditions of Telstra's Australian Call Centre employees. This push is also coming from the Telstra initiated "Award Variation" application, which is designed to lower the Telstra Modern Award safety net. This is because their proposals on Saturday work are clearly under the existing Telstra Modern award provisions. If the EBA were to be voted on, it may not necessarily pass the BOOT (Better Off Overall Test) when certification by FWC is progressed. It would appear that getting the Award arbitrated by FWC without the support of the Unions may be a long process. We suspect that key changes to underpinning terms and conditions (i.e. the Award Safety net) really means that it is likely the first "cab off the rank" before the EBA is resolved.
If Telstra cannot get Unions' support for the EBA (due to issues identified above) they still have the ability to put the EBA document (or documents) to the staff, and chance their arm on the vote. Interesting times are on the horizon, and it is unlikely that we will see much progress before the end of the year. However, we still continue to meet and bargain in good faith, as required by the Fair Work Act.
LABOR SHOWS ACTION IS POSSIBLE TO FIGHT INSECURE WORK - ACTU
The ACTU welcomes the private member's bill introduced by the leader of the opposition which would ensure that workers doing the same job for the same employer are paid the same. The Bill would stop the unfair business model that sees some labour hire operators undercutting pay and conditions and offering cut-price workforces to businesses. The Bill demonstrates that Governments can take powerful steps to make work more secure and ensure that working people have basic rights.
BEWARE BURNOUT AT WORK
TELSTRA GENDER AFFIRMATION LEAVE
From Telstra: We're very pleased to share that Telstra is launching Gender Affirmation Leave, available to all eligible Australian based permanent employees. This entitlement will provide up to 8 weeks paid leave and will support employees who choose to take steps to affirm their defined gender, which includes:
Our policy has 2 main objectives; provide clear support for employees who want to affirm their gender; and continue to demonstrate that Telstra is a diverse and inclusive company. We are proud to offer a market leading entitlement and to be launching during Trans Awareness Week.
RETIRED MEMBERS ACTIVITIES
Authorised by Dan Dwyer Branch Secretary