Telstra EBA – After the NO vote!

(and congratulations to all Telstra staff) – Where are we at?

The unprecedented 81% “No” vote on Telstra’s mindless “cut and run” EBA exercise over the last couple of weeks has left some uncertainty in the minds of the Telstra staff, at a time when clarification of CEO Penn’s  disgraceful job cutting agenda and the wholesale dismembering of Telstra is becoming obvious to the staff.

To summarise the position we are in:

Telstra have announced they will pay an initial 1.5% this coming 1 October, without the EBA being agreed to by the staff. This is not a novel tactic (far from it), in fact this management tactic was used in the 2008/09 EBA when we reached an impasse with Darren Fewster’s HR EBA bargaining team then.

As of now, the 2015/2018 EBA simply reaches its nominal expiry date (September 31, 2018), but continues on in the same form. It doesn’t disappear – it doesn’t magically cease to control your employment terms and conditions.  The only difference is that the regular yearly pay rises guaranteed in the existing 2015-2018 Telstra EBA, don’t increment on October 1, 2018. However, for whatever reason, Telstra have indicated they will pay 1.5% on October 1 – obviously this isn’t the end of the pay issue, nor should it be. 1.5% per annum represents a pay cut in real terms, every year for 3 years.

The contentious changes to the existing EBA, particularly the cl45 “redundancy avoidance arrangements” are totally unacceptable. This is clearly a desperate bean counting tactic utilised by Telstra, to avoid redundancy payments to long serving staff. When the  Telstra redundancy arrangements were  implemented all those years ago (ie the 1980’s), it was brought about by industrial action and our members who were prepared to fight when their jobs were being “sliced and diced” in the era of automation of telephone exchanges. Your current redundancy arrangements have a long history, and they weren’t given to you by the boss, they were fought for.

The move to further remove any arrangements for Job Family wage arrangements from the EBA to “policy” is a further example of the way companies like Telstra prefer to operate.  The Job Family arrangements are totally flawed, unfair, and a method of cost control that the bean counters love. In the main, the Job Family arrangements are secretive, disgraceful, biased methods of setting wages. The rhetoric about how good the “Job Family” system is comes only from the few that are in a position to manipulate it. It’s designed that way, and should be done away with.  The workers should not shoulder the burden when it comes to propping up the company. After all, it is the Telstra workforce who will be relied upon to pilot Telstra through the so-called difficult times ahead. They should be treasured, not forced to wear a pay cut and have their conditions cut back.

We also need to commence the collective pressure back on Telstra (after the good work in voting NO). We ask all Telstra staff to join the union in order to collectively respond to this developing EBA impasse. Together we can get a decent deal.

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