We wrote to Telstra on 15 Jan 2019 in the following terms:
We write to raise an urgent health and safety issue.
We have been informed that Telstra in Sydney cancelled the cleaning of exchanges from 21 December 2018. As a result the premises have deteriorated to the point where there is a serious health and safety problem. You will be aware that the exchanges are used not only by Telstra staff but also numerous contractors. They are not "unattended" exchanges at all. Telstra is primarily responsible for the cleaning of the premises and for the health and safety of staff and contractors. We attach some photos.
We seek an urgent undertaking that cleaning services will be resumed immediately.
If urgent action is not promised and taken, we will direct members to not work in certain exchanges until the safety issue has been resolved.
Telstra acrted promptly and responded as follows:
Thanks for highlighting the state of these facilities.
We will be taking action immediately at these sites.
For future reference, employees are able to flag the state of facilities
for remedial action by logging a task at https://telstra.unily.com/sites/power-and-facilities.
Whilst it was paused over the Christmas period, there is a regular cleaning schedule for the sites, which will continue throughout the year. As you mention, these facilities are not permanently staffed, so we do rely on staff to advise us if the cleaning cycle has not kept the facility adequately maintained. In relation to your query regarding cleaners wages - we have contracts with 13 companies nationally that use supported workforce to provide facilities services to us; all are employed and paid as per the relevant awards.
DIRTY EXCHANGES - OUR RESPONSE TO TELSTRA
Following our first complaint and the Telstra response, we wrote again to Telstra stating:
We are surprised that Telstra "paused" their cleaning contracts over Xmas. The staff (and contractors who also access the exchanges) are expected to work and cleaning is required. We note that this was wider than Sydney and included Newcastle. We are even surprised that you would effectively stand down the supported workforce (who are on reduced salaries) at Xmas. This must be particularly hurtful to the supported workers to be stood down at Xmas. We seek an undertaking that you will consult us if a future "pause" is planned. We can advise now that for health and safety reasons, we will advise members to "pause" work till cleaning has been undertaken.
Edensor Pk Exchange
DIRTY EXCHANGES - TELSTRA WANT STAFF TO MONITOR
Telstra appear to have a strategy of letting exchanges deteriorate until they get a complaint. We can only advise members to report dirty exchanges and not enter until cleaned. Keep a diary note and advise us. We will compile the complaints to build a test case. The Telstra email stated: As previously advised, there is a regular cleaning schedule for our sites. However, if employees believe that a site requires cleaning at any stage, they are able to log the task through the facilities portal (https://telstra.unily.com/sites/power-and-facilities). Should an employee believe that a site presents a risk to their health and safety, they should follow the established procedure in their work area to have this addressed appropriately. Employees should consult their 1-up manager if they are unsure of what to do.