Weekly Bulletin


Number 43       17 December 2023


This will be the last planned bulletin for the year. May we at the CWU T&S Branch wish you a happy Xmas and New Year break. See you next year. While our office will be closed, we will be available during the break.


I will be attending the Sydney E000 centre on Wednesday from about 12 noon for about 2 hours. I look forward to meeting members and staff to discuss the upcoming EBA, the bullying issues and other matters.


Last week we lodged a bullying claim in the FWC alleging that the KPIs and targets are unnecessarily too high, and oppressive. (See Bulletin 42). Telstra has filed a Notice in the FWC denying that there has been bullying and that the targets are excessive. The matter is likely to have an initial hearing in January.


This is to inform Branches of the passing of former T&S Victorian Branch President, Peter Abrehart and long standing member in NSW Brian Hunt. We have no further details at this time.


The P&T side of our union is conducting a survey of CFW members presumably to determine what you want. We have not been invited to join the survey and have not seen their questions. You can be assured that we are already aware of a number of issues. We are even pursuing one matter in the Courts (probably triggering the review).
Once we see the Telstra agenda, we will be seeking your opinion.


Telstra has advised at a meeting the following:
As requested, below is a summary about the new Career Development Tool we are piloting at Telstra.
What is it? Career Connect is a career development tool that uses AI-enabled technology to offer real-time matching to connect our people to opportunities across Telstra based on their skills, experience, and career goals. It will provide employees with support to understand possible career paths, identify mentorships, explore learning options and available roles. Career Connect is an opt-in tool to support their career development at Telstra. Our internal recruitment process will remain in place and all employees will continue to have access to open roles.
We will be piloting to ~1500 employees in February 2024. We will `test and learn' before we look to rollout across Telstra.


This is our letter to Normy this week. The history is omitted here and can be seen in the next item.
However we are urgently seeking the following in NSW:
- That the Team Leader at SPF maintenance by upgraded to PTO7 in line with the other Team Leaders.
- That all positions be filled immediately on a higher duties basis, pending permanent filling. This includes 2IC positions, Planners, Team Leaders etc.


We also asked Normy the following:
Secondly, we seek an explanation of the proposal by HR that promoted staff (eg PTO7 Team Leaders) sign a new employment contract. This is unnecessary as we are dealing with EBA classifications and these covered within the existing contracts. Further it is an insult that the promoted staff must go through a probationary period without unfair dismissal rights. We advise members not to sign the new contract.


In regards to the Team Leader at SPF maintenance by upgraded to PTO7 in line with the other Team Leaders. Confirming that the maintenance Team Leader remains a PTO6 level and reports in to the PTO7 as per the structure and inline with national Tech review and as consulted at the LWG.
In regards to all positions be filled immediately on a higher duties basis, pending permanent filling. I can confirm all positions have been permanently filled and the individuals are working within the new structure. Due to internal promotions this has created consequential vacancies for 2 x PTO6 2ICS at SPF which we are looking to advertise immediately.
In respect of the PTO7's I can confirm they will not be required to sign new contracts.


Post has advised:
Last year we announced the new NSW Technical Structure and the newly created role of NSW Technical Manager. After a robust search, I am pleased to announce Filip Kramer will be joining Australia Post and leading the NSW technical team in 2024, reporting directly into myself.
Filip Kramer has a strong background in leading transformative engineering initiatives and adopting the power of robotics and automation technologies to revolutionise operational processes. He has previously worked with large scale organisations locally and abroad such as Amazon and Bosal to name a few.


Our position was set out in our letter to Normy
I refer to the JCC Meeting last Monday in which a number of issues were raised.
I am raising some matters which require immediate action.
On 18 November 2021, Post presented to a national meeting a new structure with various changes, including job descriptions. This was a response to a long campaign by our (then) NSW T&S and VIC T&S Branches.
In late 2022, it was agreed that Post should move forward, without prejudice, and advertise and fill the positions. We indicated at that point that we were seeking a date of effect of 18 November 2021 given the extensive delays to that date.
That issue of back pay was put aside and will now be pursued by us. It will be dealt with by the National JCC.


Our ESTA members have voted to take Protected Industrial Action in support of a better EVA. Our Branch (together with other ESTA unions) notified that action will commence at 0600 on Mon 18 Dec 23. ESTA has raised a number of objections and has threatened to apply to the FWC to have these actions suspended.
It is important that ESTA receives a loud and clear message that the Unions claims are responded to in a reasonable and timely manner. The Enterprise Agreement has expired and members are entitled to wage increases to keep up with the cost of living, in addition to taking on well-earned leave entitlements - if you can access it! Industrial action takes resilience and dogged determination to improve the working lives of yourself and your workmates.
Those actions include various bans and actions that will not affect public safety. A detailed Bulletin has been sent by CWU Industrial Officer Sue Riley to ESTA members.
If you have any issues or concerns please contact Sue Riley


We were advised that the Triple Zero Victoria Act 2023 commenced on 15 Dec 2023. The commencement of the Act will disband the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA), which will be replaced by a new entity Triple Zero Victoria.
The highly skilled ESTA workforce will transfer to Triple Zero Victoria on the same terms and conditions they are employed under today to help ensure the seamless continuity of service delivery to the community which includes the current enterprise agreements continuing to apply. This includes any accrued entitlement to benefits such as annual and long service leave.


The following is from the New Daily. Matthew Elmas Dec 06, 2023
Post to cut letter deliveries. AAP
Those who prioritise and need more frequent and convenient parcel deliveries will be the big winners from Post's pledge to modernise, according to experts.
Under a new strategy announced by Communications Minister Michelle Rowland on Wednesday, Post will soon only deliver standard letters to most households every two days.
Edith Cowan University associate professor Flavio Macau said the plan clears the way for the national postal network to double down on more frequent online shopping parcel deliveries.
That means Australians should get their shopping delivered faster and increasingly with the added convenience of additional collection options such as parcel lockers, Macau explained.
"Australia Post is investing to further increase convenience for users [and] planning to make more lockers available," he said.
"It recognises that not every doorstep is safe for delivery, and that most users are not happy to drive to a store, during working hours, and wait in a queue to finally pick up their parcels."
New delivery model
Posties will still visit every door on their round each business day under the rules, with parcels and priority mail to be delivered every day in largely the same way as now.
What will change is that standard letters will only be delivered to half of the route each day, alternating so that households receive letter deliveries less often between Monday and Friday.
Paul Alexander, an associate professor at Curtin University, said the changes have been a long time coming, agreeing that faster parcel deliveries will be a key benefit for most households.
"Instead of filling up their capacity with letters, posties will fill up their [delivery] capacity with parcels," he said.
"Those three-wheel vehicles they use can hold 70 kilograms and they will still go around every day, but mostly they will have parcels in them."
The changes will also help put Post on more sustainable financial footing following its $200 million loss in 2022-23, which was driven primarily by its ailing letter delivery business.
Alexander said that will enable further investments in the parcel network, including replacing ageing letter infrastructure with parcel facilities and also a larger nationwide locker network.
"Their post offices will become more automated, and those digital lockers will start [expanding] too," he said.
"That costs a lot of money to roll those out."
Postage pricing uncertain
The immediate effect on parcel and letter pricing under the plan is not entirely clear, with the government on Wednesday saying it is working on separate regulations that will oversee this.
It comes as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) assesses a draft plan to increase basic postage rates from $1.20 to $1.50 in early 2024, though prices for concession card holders will remain at 60 cents and Christmas stamps will still be 65 cents.
Post chief executive Paul Graham said vulnerable Australians will be protected under that pricing plan, with the reforms allowing the postie to "turbocharge" its parcels business.
"As eCommerce continues to boom and fewer and fewer Australians send letters, the changes to letters frequency announced today will free up our posties to also focus on parcels and packages," he said.
Many letters will be delivered slower under the modernisation scheme, however, with the Post Office Agents Association explaining that there will be a move towards second-day service.
"In this new delivery model, PDOs deliver parcels, Express Post and Priority letters to all properties in their round each day, but only deliver standard letters to half of their round each day," the POAAL said.
Alexander said the new rules do open the door for Post to charge commercial rates for some mail services, which will mostly affect businesses that use letters to send advertising and required written communications for customers


From the New Daily Parker McKenzie Nov 20, 2023
The Fair Work Commission's decision to support a business challenged on its work-from-home policy may be a win for employers, but experts say it also provides clarity for those working remotely.
A workplace tribunal found that Maxxia, a salary packaging provider, had reasonable grounds to reject its employee's request to work remotely because it helped the employee meet the company's productivity targets, improve team culture and assist with training.
Dr Libby Sander, a workplace expert at Bond University, said the FWC would have taken into account performance and the employer's request when making its decision.
"In this case, the employer has a requirement of 40% of the time in the office," she said.
"This employee was only working at or achieving 50% of their productivity targets, so I think that decision also relates to that."
The appeal to the Fair Work Commission's workplace tribunal was made possible because of the newly introduced Secure Jobs Better Pay workplace laws, which allows employees to appeal against an employer's decision to refuse flexible working arrangements.
Dr Nataliya Ilyushina, an economist and a research fellow at RMIT University, said the FWC's decisions will create guidelines for the future.
"It gives a lot of clarity as to the process and what's wrong and what's right, outlining the situation where requests for flexible work or 100 per cent work from home is reasonable and allowed," she said.
"For example, it clearly states that a worker should be employed for 12 months on a full-time or part-time basis, and after that, they're entitled to request a flexible work arrangement."
The concept of `over employment,' or holding multiple remote jobs at the same time, rose to prominence during the pandemic and has spread online as a way for workers to make bank at their employer's expense.
Ilyushina said there has been much discussion within businesses about workers starting to take advantage of work-from-home arrangements.
"There have been reports of people taking on two jobs for example," she said.
"The decision still has a lot of room for subjective judgment; what's reasonable for one person may not seem reasonable to the manager."
She said the reality is there are many jobs that can be done completely remotely, but that can create disadvantages.
"There is solid research and evidence that you are much more likely to be promoted if you work in the office and that is common sense - you're more visible to your manager," she said.
"There is evidence that for workers who worked in the office before COVID and went to work from home, they improved their productivity. But for new hires that were hired straight into remote work, they weren't as productive."
Setting precedent
Although the decision tested the Secure Jobs Better Pay laws for the first time, Sander said it is important that the context of the situation is taken into account.
"The employer wasn't being unreasonable. If they wanted the employee back in the office five days a week then perhaps it would have been a different comment," she said.
"There's been a lot of doom and gloom either way with this particular topic, but I don't think we should read too much into it."
She said there is an important role for office and work-from-home arrangements in the modern workforce.
"Employees are in an employment relationship. There is a contract and these issues aren't new to working from home."

  • 0428 942 878 dan.dwyer@cwunion.net Dan Dwyer
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