UPDATE: Unions warn Telstra to prepare for unprecedented industrial action

This won't be your garden variety industrial action, unions warn, with action beginning this weekend

An overwhelming majority of Telstra workers have voted in favour of industrial action over the telco’s refusal to negotiate collective agreements with its employees.

An Australian Electoral Commission ballot of 5,675 Telstra employees saw nearly 4,400 votes cast, with over 90 per cent voting to commence industrial action this weekend.

The ballot was launched by the Communications, Electrical, Electronic, Energy, Information, Postal, Plumbing and Allied Services Union of Australia (CEPU).

According to Telstra, union membership covers only 15 per cent of its employee base.

CEPU national president, Ed Husic, told ARN that the biggest sticking point for its members is the fact Telstra has walked away from talks with the unions (CEPU, CPSU and APESMA) regarding wages. In a prepared statement, Telstra said it is continuing to talk with its employees and "nothing has changed".

“Our members want a union collective agreement, not a non-union deal. For a lot of these members they have had a union-covered agreement or award from time immemorial, and Telstra should not be entitled to determine who negotiates their pay packet,” Husic said.

Telstra’s non-union wage deals are below inflation rates, he added, with CEPU members asking for at least a seven per cent wage increase in addition to the security of conditions and entitlements that come from a union collective agreement.

Telstra said over 5000 eligible employees have registered their interest in an employee collective agreement.

Husic claimed Telstra is trying to segregate its workforce, where existing enterprise agreement employees are categorised under “Part A”, while new employees and those coming off AWA’s fall into a “Part B” agreement that would be less than what is currently offered to those in “Part A”.

Telstra said it "has put forward a fair and competitive offer which protects all current terms and conditions of Enterprise Agreement employees and guarantees 12.5 per cent pay increases over three years plus up to 7.5 per cent in performance-based bonuses, with a minimum 4.5 per cent increase in the first year," in a statement, stating that its employee collective agreement exceeds national average increases of 3.9 per cent per year.

“Basically because Telstra has a huge time bomb on its hands trying to lure people off awards and agreements [made] in the past under John Howard’s Work Choices and before. They offered big pay deals with very generous conditions,” Husic said.

“Telstra knows those people will come off those AWAs as they expire and they are basically trying to put them onto a lower pay rate in the years to come. We already obtained many months ago leaked management slides that show that Telstra aims to try and save $37million off their wages bill in the coming years and this is one of the mechanisms they want to employ to do that.”

The unions say they approached Telstra on three occasions to get them back to the negotiating table, but were stonewalled at each attempt.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Telstracepu

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Bang and Olufsen Beosound Stage - Dolby Atmos Soundbar

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

ASUS ROG, ACRONYM partner for Special Edition Zephyrus G14

Learn more >

Nakamichi Delta 100 3-Way Hi Fi Speaker System

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean 9000 Toothbrush

Learn more >

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit for Nintendo Switch

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

SunnyBunny Snowflakes 20 LED Solar Powered Fairy String

Learn more >

Teac 7 inch Swivel Screen Portable DVD Player

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?