Telstra EBA: Phoenix From The Ashes (cl 45).

CWUnion Victorian Telstra Members Bulletin
Phoenix from the ashes – clause 45 (transfer of business) rears its ugly head – again!

Last Thursday (4 July), reps from 2 of the 3 Unions (CPSU and ourselves – Professionals Australia wasn’t present), along with a number of bargaining agents representing either themselves or other groups of employees, met with Telstra’s reps for the 4th time in 10 weeks since the protected industrial action had been suspended.The originally understood principle intent of the meeting was for Telstra to respond to the 2.5 % offer tabled by the 3 Unions bargaining group (Professionals Australia, CPSU and ourselves) a number of meetings previously.

Instead of dealing initially with the response to the pay offer (more on that later), Telstra proceeded to drop out another version of the flatly rejected clause 45 – “Moving within the Telstra Group” – (otherwise known as the Transfer of Business clause) which clearly surprised those on our side of the table. This is despite Darren Fewster clearly indicating that he (ie Telstra) had withdrawn the contentious clause in a Yammer post some months previously (just after the 82% vote no ballot).

This clause has major concerns for those members/staff who are possibly “in scope” for a possible asset strip of Telstra, including the InfraCo business unit, (amongst other possible areas) and the placement of those members/staff in a wholly owned subsidiary (with their own ABN, etc) or indeed, just sold off to another group.

The response from all the Bargaining reps was to clearly reject this initiative.  During the discussion one bargaining rep directly quoted Darren Fewster’s Yammer post back to him! (Darren Fewster in reply to an employee on Feb 27 at 4.45pm – “Hi …., clause 45 caused too much concern for people, which was not our intention. We took it off the table in entirety months ago. It wont be resurrected in any future discussions to replace the 2015 EA.”) You be the judge on Telstra’s behaviour here.

If it is the plan for Telstra to re-introduce issues that have been previously agitated, rejected by a no vote, then withdraw them, well maybe the union’s approach should be the same about a number of clauses that we have failed to get agreement on. Time will tell.

After some considerable discussion, the issue was “parked”, (pending further discussions with the unions) and Telstra at the next scheduled meeting. Telstra, however, did indicate when asked, that the cl 45 issue had now become an “integral part” of the EBA for them, even more so than the other rejected issue previously of directing the taking of Long Service Leave.

Pay offer – the disgrace continues

The next, rather predictable response from Telstra to the 2.5% SBU offer was to indicate that they were prepared to increase the appalling 1.5% offer to 1.8%, applied from October 1, 2019 and 1 October 2020. At this stage, no sign on bonus, no application of any other bonuses, and no increase to any allowances etc. In the immortal words from “The Castle” movie, tell ‘em they’re dreaming. We need a total re-think and direction change from how we approach this EBA matter, otherwise a substandard set of conditions will be foisted upon this hardworking and very deserving Telstra work force, currently in incredible turmoil due to Telstra Management decisions that are destroying this once great icon of Australia.

Next hook up:
Given our next programmed EBA meetings are for 9am to 1pm on Tuesday 16 July and Thursday 18 July, the normal 7.30pm Zoom hook up will continue, but with a bit of a focus on the cl45 implications as well as the “Transfer of Business” legislation. The NSW T&S Branch Secretary Dan Dwyer (who is a lawyer) will provide some information on this matter.

Details of the hook up are available from the Branch Office: 9663 6815

In solidarity,

JOHN ELLERY A/g Secretary, CWU (T&S) Vic | 0419 823 580 |
JONATHON WRIGHT, Recruitment Officer, CWU (T&S) Vic | 0490 503 829 |
LEROY LAZARO Secretary, CWU (P&T) Vic | 0422 546 814 |
VAL BUTLER Industrial Officer, CWU (P&T) Vic | 0408 766 444 |

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