No Dunnies, No Deal!

CWU (T&S) Vic: Telstra Bulletin
3 September 2020

A recent bulletin (Changes to Exchange Amenities) to all N&IT field staff, approved by Queensland N&IT manager (Michael Steele ex NDC) really highlights how bad Telstra lowered itself with its bean counter driven mentality.

The latest attempt to rationalise the cleanliness in Telephone exchanges – something that has been a major health and safety sore point for decades, has now been circulated. It contains some breathtaking assertions that Telstra is now going to IMPROVE the cleanliness in exchanges by closing toilet facilities in 145 exchanges across Australia, 40 of which are in Victoria, and rely on either public toilets or commercial facilities, such as McDonalds. A bit like some international political figures saying that the Covid numbers are high because the testing is too high! In other words, get rid of the cleanliness problem and cleaning costs by removing the toilets and pushing the responsibility elsewhere. Absolutely stupid crazy logic that defies belief.

Just like the lunch room closures, the toilet closures are symptomatic of a Management group focussed on the dollar, not the human beings that work for them.

We can only see this backward initiative in generating unhealthy and unsafe workplaces, as opposed to what Telstra is legally required to do under the OH&S Act.

We see problems, such as:

  • Increased amount of unhealthy activities such as urinating and defecating in the surrounds of the exchange, and particularly in rooms that are not as well used. This behaviour has been reported over the years and certain areas inside an exchange (Filing cabinets and cupboards) have become legendary.
  • Use of Public toilet facilities that are, at best, dubious. Reliance on local councils to provide facilities in lieu of Telstra providing facilities for their staff and contractors is disgraceful.

Staff with medical conditions need easy access to clean toilet facilities.

Field staff in vehicles need access to toilet and washing facilities, particularly if they are eating in these areas.

Telstra needs to provide clean and safe washing, toilet and lunch room facilities in all of their exchanges, including rural areas. The Union is calling on the Management of this area to resist the bean counting agenda, and reinstate proper, clean, sanitized exchanges as a matter of urgency. Particularly at a time when there is major focus on personal hygiene in the Covid era.

If you have any information regarding unclean, unhealthy exchanges, please provide information/photos to the undersigned.

John Ellery
Industrial Officer
0419 823 580

* Authorised by Sue Riley, Secretary, CWU, Telecommunications & Services Branch, Victoria

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