Telstra Bulletin Promise Dispatch Application

The implementation of the “PROMISE” application for dispatch of Telstra (and sub-contractor defacto Telstra employees) continues to be of concern to the Union. Indications at present are that it is still in a “trial” phase, however, given a number of emails being circulated from Telstra managers, the rollout is imminent (ie end of January 2018). In those emails from management, there is an indication that Telstra staff (and probably subbies for that matter) could “opt out” of the app – our suggestion is that members could alternately indicate that they do not wish to be under surveillance by the customer, and should opt out of that unnecessary, invasive part of the App.

The latest attempt at a “whizz bang” automated dispatch follows previous dispatch arrangements, including “Connect” and “Director”. The history of these dispatch tools will be well known by many Telstra staff, each of which were troubled by attempts to include computerised arrangements that dissolved many full time jobs in these dispatch areas over the years. Who can forget the infamous “panic” button that was touted when the GPS arrangements were first implemented? (Remember the sales pitch – it’s all about safety of the staff!!!) The efficiency of these tools was always questioned, and manual intervention was always used to cover up (ie work around) various inadequacies.

So we now have another attempt. Only this attempt has a proposed method of allowing a third party (ie the customer) to stalk the dispatched tech on the way to the next job, under the guise of keeping the customer informed. Quite frankly, this is an abuse of the privacy of the employee (or subbie) and should be stopped immediately. There is no need for this customer “gimmick” to make its way into the realm of a dispatch arrangement that already uses GPS surveillance by the boss to work out where the tech actually is at any point in the day. Surely the ability of the tech to work out what is the most efficient way to plan a route, plan the work for the day, etc, etc, makes the job enjoyable. This is nothing but a backward step into unfettered, unwarranted surveillance, spying, and stalking, and is in effect, bullying.

The following response from Telstra Corporate HR following a representation last week on the matter is provided for your information. The Union will continue to oppose the introduction of this unwarranted, uncalled for, and totally unnecessary part of the Promise system, and we hope that some sanity prevails with Telstra management and the customer gimmick is withdrawn immediately.

“I refer to your letter dated 17 January 2018 (Ref VB18/03) regarding Telstra’s Promise application.

To clarify, the utilisation of GPS within the Promise application is for the purposes of improving deployment of work. We unequivocally refute your statements that this application is designed to allow customers to ‘spy’ or ‘stalk’ the location of our staff and contractors.

GPS allows route and customer optimisation in real time, and matches the best CT to the customer request. It will reduce travel time leading to improved customer outcomes (improved appointments met and cycle times) and will allow for real-time optimisation that adapts to changes during the day (late/early finish, tasks in/out, CT’s becoming unavailable/available).

To expand on this, deployment is improved since the GPS location is updated every three minutes. This allows for:
True street level routing and at the time scheduling optimisation. The location is used to calculate/estimate more precisely the time that it will take to travel from the current location to the next job. Without this, it is only possible to guess the location. Currently, in the old Connect WFM, the customer’s or asset’s address is used – even if a technician has travelled away from the site.
With the Click Schedule version 9upgrade (expected this year), live traffic updates will be enabled to further improve the estimated travel time, and ETA for customer appointments.
The approximate location can help the WFM system organise Assist tasks immediately after it is requested by a technician.

It is also important to note that the customer view for the purposes of the ‘Where’s my Tech’ functionality is only available once a CT selects the ‘Travel’ button. Our CT’s shouldn’t be selecting the travel button unless they are on the way to a customer appointment. As such, there should be no customer visibility of where our employees are outside of those times (i.e. prior to work, on lunch breaks etc.) unless they click the travel button prior. Further to this, Telstra has implemented a system fix that will mean there is now a 7 minute delay on the SMS sent to customers following the CT selecting the travel button.

Therefore, your assertion that the application provides ‘unnecessary private data’ and will allow customers to ‘manage or control Telstra staff’ is simply untrue. To summarise, the functionality will allow customers to have a delayed visibility of where the CT is when attending their specific appointment, and this will only occur after the CT clicks the travel button.
Notably, Telstra (and our partners) have and will continue to comply with any requirements under relevant surveillance legislation.

As you may know, our rollout schedule for the Promise application has been delayed – this is due to our commitment in getting the functionality right. Currently, the application is only operational in Tasmania.

However, our intention is to continue to roll out Promise to the remaining regions in due time. We commit to continuing to discuss the Promise application and the roll out plan with the CWU. Once we have further information on proposed dates, I will be in contact to organise time for the team to meet if required.”

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