The long standing legal arrangement regarding your own health and safety is that you are required to take an unpaid meal break after no more than 5 hours work. This is contained in the latest Telstra EBA (2018-2021), clause 17.1. Whilst there is no written EBA clause about coffee/tea breaks (aside from a reference to Contact Centre workers in cl 17.2), the long standing custom and practice of a short paid coffee/tea break is still there, and should also be utilised for your own health and sanity reasons. Only these days we don’t call it a smoko break!!!
The reasons for this are blatantly obvious, and must not be ignored. The body needs a meal break at a regular time (particularly so for members who have ongoing medical conditions), and the irrefutable fact that it is a legal requirement as per the EBA. You get paid for a period of 7 hrs 21 minutes a day (8 hrs 10 if you have an RDO). The meal break of between half an hour and an hour (unpaid) is clearly there for a reason. If you work through a meal break (and some managers are putting pressure on staff to do so) you are doing yourself, your health, and your work mates’ health, no good at all.
If you have a situation of Managers putting pressure on you to work through the meal break (to supposedly up the productivity stats) we want to know about it. In fact, if they are pressuring staff along these lines, they are breaching the EBA, and possibly bullying staff, which has major consequences for Telstra as an organisation. Their job should be to make sure staff are taking their breaks in accordance with the EBA, not subverting it under their KPI requirements.
If you feel you are being made to work through unpaid meal breaks, as a result of stats being used against you, again let us know. If your performance measure (PRDP), completed jobs, etc, is being highlighted and you are working through breaks to rectify this, let us know.
Please contact the Branch office 9663 6815 if you have any queries about this
CWU (T&S) Vic