SIGNAL No. 682

The CWU continues to pursue issues arising out of the Design banding review being conducted in Network Services.

Many CWU members have expressed concerns about both the process and the outcomes of this review which Telstra says is aimed at getting consistency in the banding of roles across the design area.

It has been conducted without union involvement.

The Phase 1 of the review focussed on design support roles and resulted in five ”core” roles being identified, with new “Success Profiles” being developed for each of them.

The key question here is whether these Profiles amount to new or changed Job Descriptions (JDs). If so, the whole process is in breach of Section C1 of the Enterprise Agreement which requires CWU agreement to any changes to JDs.

Telstra claims that the Success Profiles aren’t new JDs and align with current JDs. The CWU has set up a working party with membership involvement which is testing this claim.

The other question is whether the actual banding outcomes (i.e. upgrades or lack of upgrades) arising out of the review correctly reflect the work members are actually doing. Based on the union survey conducted last month, the CWU is looking at this issue on a case-by-case basis.

The union met with Telstra on Tuesday 31 May to discuss a number of instances where the CWU believes members have not been correctly graded. In some cases we have asked for records of the amount of time members have spent acting in higher roles.

Discussion around these individual cases in ongoing.

Visionstream Telecommunications has notified the CWU and employees that it intends to make deep cuts to staff numbers, despite having its major contract with Telstra renewed for 5 years. As much as 40% of the workforce could be shed.

Visionstream Telecommunications incorporates the former Silcar Telepower operations and despite some diversification, its business remains centred on its contract with Telstra for battery maintenance and other facilities management functions and did have a small component of first –in base station maintenance for Optus.

As a result it is particularly vulnerable to peaks and troughs in the flow of work from Telstra and to the latter’s  decisions about the extent to which it will invest in proactive maintenance.

The CWU understands that there has been a decrease in the amount of proactive works expected under the new contract.

During recent EA negotiations, considerable time was spent in trying to address these workflow issues in order to minimise the threat of redundancy to employees. The CWU is disappointed that, despite ongoing negotiations, Visionstream has now moved to make such sweeping cuts.

We also question whether the company will be able to meet its contractual obligations, given the skill drain that such cuts will inevitably involve.

The announcement has cast a shadow over the current Enterprise Agreement (EA) negotiations which have just recommenced, following the rejection of a proposed agreement last month.

While these negotiations can and will continue it is expected that voting on a new agreement will not take place until the redundancies have been finalised. Visionstream says that it wants this process to be complete by the end of the financial year.

In the meantime, the CWU has called on Visionstream to make voluntary redundancy its first option. The union has also asked for assurances that work is not simply being outsourced to contractors.

CWU members and other Visionstream Telecommunications employees have sent some clear messages to the company about why they rejected a proposed Enterprise Agreement last month.

The CWU surveyed employees after the NO vote, asking them to indicate the degree of importance they attached to a number of issues known to be contentious.

The proposed creation of an on-call roster emerged as the single most “very important” issue, though respondents were divided on whether they wanted the roster or not. Planned overtime and shortage of work provisions followed close behind.

Respondents were also unimpressed with the pay rise which, as it stands, delivers 2.5% per year for the first 2 years and 2.5% or CPI, whichever is higher, in the 3rd year.

The CWU reported on the results of the survey at a meeting between Visionstream, the CWU and other employee representatives on Wednesday 1 April – the first such meeting since the ballot.

Visionstream has undertaken to consider what changes might be made to the agreement, especially in relation to the key issues identified, in order to make it more acceptable to employees.

Negotiations are expected to continue during June, with the next meeting scheduled for Thursday 16 June. However it is not expected that a further vote will be scheduled until at least early July.

Visionstream Communications (formerly Silcar Communications) has formally notified employees that it wishes to enter into bargaining for a new Enterprise Agreement.

The move follows a series of employee briefings held jointly between the CWU and the company with a view to preparing for negotiations.

The company says it wants to work towards eventually creating a single agreement to cover employees currently covered by the Silcar Communications Agreement, which reached its nominal expiry date in November last year and the Visionstream Fieldwork Agreement, which does not reach its expiry date until December 2018.

The two companies involved now form part of a single entity, Ventia, although for the time being they retain their separate names .and workforces.

These will be challenging negotiations, not least because of differences between the entitlements currently available under the two existing agreements. The CWU will be seeking ongoing input from members as bargaining progresses.

Members are also reminded that the CWU is automatically their bargaining representative unless they explicitly choose otherwise. There is no need for members to fill out the bargaining representative form.

CWU UNION DUES 2015/2016 (Taxation purposes)
CAT A           $652.83
CAT B           $592.94
CAT C           $474.72
CAT D           $236.72
CAT A           $570.70
CAT B           $518.70
CAT C           $414.70
CAT D           $208.00
CAT A          $538.20
CAT B          $468.00
CAT C          $212.00
CAT A           $551.30
CAT B           $501.30
CAT C           $400.90
CAT D           $200.60
If you have an enquiry please contact the office: 9663 6815 or


Call Now