Two meetings have now occurred with Telstra and a further meeting is planned next week. We have heard the usual introduction about what Telstra cannot afford. You will see from the Telstra Log of Claims below, that we are poles apart. It seems they want to remove or reduce long standing conditions of employment from your Agreement, however several interpretations are possible given the Telstra approach.
TELSTRA LOG OF CLAIMS
Telstra described these items below as “options” or “discussion points”.
- A low wage rise of around 2% per annum – below anticipated inflation
- A removal of the exemption which allows technical specialists Band 9 and above to be paid overtime
- Long Service Leave changes (already known)
- Removal of the additional Telstra leave day
- Significant reduction of redundancy benefits
- More restrictions on higher duties eg minimum 1 week.
- Reduce purchased leave conditions
We will continue with negotiations of course but the log is unrealistic and does nothing to grow the company. Offshoring and outsourcing has not helped Telstra – customers loathe offshore call centres and outsourced companies are only interested in the dollar, not service. Both cause reputational damage. Look at the recent outages. The union side has yet to respond in full, and as yet has not tabled its own items which require negotiation.
WORST KEPT RUMOUR
The worst kept rumor in the industry is that Telstra will soon make a major announcement. The rumored date is 20 June. There has been much criticism of the CEO and the Board, with numerous major outages placing lives at risk and impacting thousands of consumers and businesses; the share price suffers, and Telstra are hurting; but who pays? Will Telstra offshore more? “Grow the business” by cutting staff? Or even close Retail stores? We don’t know, but we know that the CEO has his back to the wall.
More updates next week after further negotiations.