Weekly Bulletin


Number 05       11 February 2024


Our Union has been in negotiations for an EBA to cover the NOC employees at BAI. We have not been involved to date but will vet the EBA when a version is available. The union position will be determined when a draft is available. The process is that BAI can ask you to vote to approve a draft EBA without involving the Union. The ballot is organised by BAI. We will advise further.


To clarify this matter, we are talking about any shift - not only 12 hour shifts. Next we are also talking about handover that in fact happened, knowing that the time would vary from shift to shift. Further Optus did not keep records of actual time worked. It does not matter whether you were directed to do the handover. If it was needed, whether formal or informal, then you should be compensated for the time.


Following the decision of Optus to pay for shift handovers, and to address backpay for the handover, we have written to Optus seeking a meeting to discuss the issues arising. First there is the handover. Second is the Morning shift penalty - see below. Thirdly is the how to address back pay for both issues. Finally there are penalties possible under the Fair Work Act.


The Optus EPA at clause 6.5 provides that shift penalties are to be paid if a shift commences before 7am or extends beyond 7pm. This occurs with handovers. The claim we make is that the shift penalty of 10% is payable.
(c) 'Morning shift' means any shift of ordinary hours starting after midnight and before 7 a.m. and finishing after 7 a.m. and where the majority of all hours worked are worked after 7 a.m.


We will be reporting on the long list of issues that we took to the meeting with Telstra following withdrawal of the Bullying application. Some of these issues are long and we will report them over several Bulletins. Your feedback is welcome. Also our delegates Shona Webby (Sydney) and Nicole Murphy (Melbourne) were at the meeting and would be happy to receive your feedback and comment. Or you can email me directly. For our submission for the meeting see CWU E000 Issues. More next week. CWU E000 Issues More next week.


CWU Submission
See our position in
CWU E000 Issues More next week.
To clarify- the 85% in 5 secs is a legislated and contractual requirement within the Emergency Call Service Determination 2019. It is calculated when the call hits the 000 queue and before delivery to an agent terminal. Therefore this is not an Agent KPI. The 3 sec SOA KPI is measured when the call hits the agent terminal to be answered - they are 2 different measures. It's our commitment to the community that we will answer their call as quickly as possible. The SOA KPI has been in place for over 23 years. Data shared at the meeting - 98.2% of agents achieve > 99.5% and of that number 32% achieve 100%. This is a reasonable KPI.
We stressed that while most staff meet the KPI, the tight timing and threats are causing stress and create OHS issues. Telstra said it was not negotiable. This is still an issue.


CWU Submission
See our position in
CWU E000 Issues
referred to previous actions taken.
* Lockers were moved from the Call centre area into the Lunchroom following a request from the Union Late 2019
* Based on employee feedback in Centre Meetings, Early 2020, Additional "acoustic Dampner Boards installed were over the grids at the ends of the centre and additional dampner partition boards were added to the dual pod desks. Plants were also requested to absorb additional sound.
* Acoustic Dampner Boards are positioned on the street facing walls, poster frames positioned along the inner centre walls as requested by employees
* The ceiling in the Call Centre has been coated with a special acoustic membrane for acoustical control to absorb excess noise and -improve intelligibility.
* The business engaged an external vendor in August 2022 to conduct an Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) Assessment, and in Nov 2022 the business communicated the below outcome of the testing "Workplace Noise Level - Noise monitoring activities conducted in general, concluded that the static noise spot readings within the Triple Zero Call Centre were within relevant standards. It was noted that noise could be heard from the Foyer/Internet Kiosk area though still within relevant standards".
Agreed Actions
The Sydney Centre Manager will seek feedback again from the employees in the centre to query -reinstating the hygiene barriers to assist with noise, carpet in the Common area to assist with noise, general reminder to employees to keep conversations in the Call centre area to moderate levels


CWU Submission
We proposed use of enter key or space bar to answer. See our position in
CWU E000 Issues
Enter Key to Answer proposal
* The business frequently reviews proposed changes to the operating environment, and prioritises these based on need and benefit to the community.
* For example, changes or enhancements to the service can be based on nationally agreed requirements from the Federal Government and Emergency Services to ensure the ECS continually improves the service capabilities it provides to the community, or may be initiated as part of lifecycle management activities for current software and hardware, including security hardening of our operating environment.
* We have assessed the request against the existing program of work and at this point in time we have determined that it is not feasible to progress this request.
* There are currently a number of Front End User system changes in progress as part of the Program of Work, therefore ,the timeframe to consider this request for review would likely be Multi year.
* Suggested addition. "To support ay concerns in the interim, the Leadership Team will provide additional support and training for any of our call takers that feel their skills utilising a mouse require improvement."
Additional detail provided
Understanding the System's Complexity: Our system is a result of years of development, with multiple layers and interdependencies. A change in one part of the system can have unforeseen ripple effects in another. Therefore, what might seem like a minor tweak can require a comprehensive understanding of the system's architecture and extensive planning to ensure that it integrates seamlessly without causing disruptions.
Quality Assurance and Risk Management: Any modification, even seemingly minor ones, must undergo rigorous testing. This is critical to ensure that new changes do not introduce bugs or vulnerabilities. In an environment where reliability is extremely important, especially in emergency communication systems, thorough testing is not just a formality but a necessity.
Regulatory and Compliance Challenges: In our field, compliance with regulatory standards is not negotiable. Any change, no matter how small, needs to be vetted for compliance. This process often involves more than just technical adjustments; it requires careful documentation, review, and approval from various regulatory bodies.
Resource Allocation and Prioritisation: Our team has to constantly balance multiple projects and prioritises tasks based on urgency, impact, and resource availability. While assuming writing a simple script or pressing an on switch might solve one problem, it requires resources that might be critical for other high priority tasks.
74% of agents have only used the current system using the mouse and we encourage anyone struggling to speak with the Leader to discuss additional training/support to improve skill capabilities.
Telstra indicated that it could take years to implement such a simple amendment to the software, We rejected that. The matter is still open.


New laws introduced by the Albanese Government have just passed the Parliament that will improve the lives of millions of workers - today and into the future.oices
Congratulations for being part of making it happen.
* Casual workers have better rights and more choices
* Gig economy workers will finally have rights at work
* All workers will have the right to disconnect.
Big business with the support of Peter Dutton were always going to spend up big to keep these loopholes open, but they were no match for the campaigning by union members all over Australia.
The new laws include measures such as:
* A genuine pathway for casual workers to transition to permanent
* Improved safety standards and work rights for gig workers.
* Enhanced rights for transport workers.
* The right to refuse unreasonable, unpaid work - including monitoring and responding to emails after hours.
Congratulations to every union member who was part of the campaign, shared their story or got active in their workplace and in the campaign. It's union members that make us strong.


Optus Retail signs Enforceable Undertaking
Fair Work Ombudsman - 9 February 2024
Optus Retailco Pty Limited is back-paying more than $7.8 million including interest and superannuation to underpaid employees nationally, and has signed an Enforceable Undertaking (EU) with the Fair Work Ombudsman that includes contrition payments.
The company, which operates Optus retail stores across Australia, is a subsidiary of Singtel Optus Pty Limited, the second largest telecommunications provider in the country.
In April 2021, Singtel Optus self-reported underpayments of Optus Retail to the Fair Work Ombudsman following an internal review. The underpaid employees were engaged as retail consultants and store managers around Australia between January 2014 and March 2020.
Poor payroll and time and attendance systems, human resources and governance practices led to employees not receiving their full lawful entitlements under the Optus Retail Agreement 2013, the General Retail Industry Award 2010 and the General Retail Industry Award 2020.
These errors included failing to:

  • undertake annual reconciliations to ensure that employees were not paid less under the enterprise agreement overall compared to the Award's minimum entitlements;
  • pay retail consultants for work performed before or after their rostered start and finish times;
  • pay part-time and casual employees for a minimum of three hours per shift, as required by minimum engagement rules, regardless if they worked for less hours;
  • apply a higher classification and pay rate for retail consultants who engaged in higher duties like opening and closing a store and regularly managing the store in absence of a store manager.

    As a result, employees were underpaid various entitlements including base rates of pay, weekend loadings, public holiday loadings, meal allowances, overtime rates, no break penalty rates, and annual and personal leave entitlements.
    Optus Retail also failed to correctly calculate the mandated six-monthly reconciliations for employees who worked in stores that operated with extended trading hours.
    Optus Retail is initially back-paying 3,744 current and former employees more than $7.8 million, including more than $5.4 million in wages and entitlements plus more than $2.4 million in superannuation and interest.
    It has already back-paid the large majority of employees, including all it could find, and under the EU must back-pay all impacted staff.
    Back-payments range from $11 to approximately $34,000. The average back-payment is about $2,100.
    Optus Retail is also required to undertake an assessment of wage payments for retail consultants and store managers, and the six-monthly and annual reconciliations between January 2020 and July 2023 and must back-pay any impacted staff where underpayments are identified.
    Fair Work Ombudsman Anna Booth said an EU was appropriate as Optus Retail had cooperated with the FWO's investigation, undertook a broad review and demonstrated a strong commitment to rectifying underpayments.

  • Under the Enforceable Undertaking, Optus Retail has committed to putting in place stringent measures to ensure all its workers are paid correctly. These measures include undertaking another review of employee entitlements covering January 2020 through to July 2023, and commissioning independent audits of its future compliance with workplace laws over the next two years," Ms Booth said.
  • This matter shows the importance of employers placing a high priority on ensuring they are meeting all their workers' lawful entitlements, including larger employers who have opted to enter into their own enterprise agreements.
  • Employers with enterprise agreements need to put in place proper systems and regular checks to ensure ongoing compliance with all their obligations, rather than taking a 'set and forget' approach.
  • Optus Retail's lack of investment in human resources and poor governance led to long-term breaches and underpayments of its staff, and large rectification costs.
  • Boards must treat the lawful payment of their employees as a core governance requirement," Ms Booth said.

    Under the EU, Optus Retail must make an initial contrition payment of $450,000 to the Commonwealth's Consolidated Revenue Fund. The company will also make an additional contrition payment equal to 4 per cent of the total underpayments found in the next review.
    The EU also requires Optus Retail to provide FWO with evidence of systems and processes it has put in place to ensure future compliance, including workplace relations training for payroll and human resources staff and mechanisms for regular reporting on compliance with workplace obligations to its parent company Singtel Optus' board of directors.
    The EU further requires Optus Retail to establish a telephone helpline for all current and former employees who worked during the relevant period to make enquiries; send an apology letter to all underpaid employees identified in the March 2020 to July 2023 review period; and provide a signed letter of assurance to the FWO from its Chief Financial Officer, confirming it is now compliant.


    The 4 Unions received a `package offer' from 000Victoria during the Wed, 7 Feb 24 bargaining meeting. The Unions are providing details of the package for members' consideration.
    This is a without prejudice offer, meaning it is not finalised, and is not complete on all the details. The Unions consider that some issues are close to being resolved, some issues that need further discussion and others that need much more discussion for there to be an agreement.
    The offer can be found in
    000Victoria EBA Offer


    Industrial Action: Members should continue to actively participate in as many of the current 10 bans as possible each shift. Unions encourage members to get photos together in your campaign shirts, call boards, etc. and send them to your Union to continue to use for media campaigns.
    The remaining 48 bans were notified Tuesday afternoon to commence for 5 minutes at 9.00 am on Saturday, 10 February 2024. There is a 60-day timeframe for notifying new bans, with that due to expire the Unions notified the remaining bans. As an annexure to this please see attached the bans notified.
    See 000Victoria EBA Bans
    Sue Riley, CWU sriley@cwu.asn.au

  • 0428 942 878 dan.dwyer@cwunion.net Dan Dwyer
          Secretary/Lawyer - industrial matters & advice
  • NSW Home Page
  • 03 9663 6815 cdtsvic@cwu.asn.au Administrative
          eg payments, applications (Open 8am-4pm MTWT)
  • Vic Home Page
  • Authorised by Dan Dwyer Secretary - CWU Telecommunications & Services Branches.

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