Ombudsman probes Telstra over pressure to sign AWAs

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Ombudsman probes Telstra over pressure to sign AWAs

The Workplace Ombudsman has followed up complaints from the ACTU and the CPSU and is investigating whether Telstra has applied duress to its workers to get them to sign up to AWAs before the new Labor Government cancels them.

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The Workplace Ombudsman has followed up complaints from the ACTU and the CPSU and is investigating whether Telstra has applied duress to its workers to get them to sign up to AWAs before the new Labor Government cancels them.

The unions claim that Telstra is trying to put up to 5000 workers onto AWAs before Labor brings in legislation to abolish them in February next year - a claim which Telstra has denied.

Duress

The Workplace Ombudsman confirmed today that it has commenced an immediate investigation into allegations that Telstra has allegedly contravened workers rights by applying duress to its employees to sign AWAs.

The Ombudsman’s Executive Director of External Affairs Michael Campbell said the investigation followed ‘consistent public allegations’ that Telstra has applied undue pressure to existing employees to sign AWAs.

He said that Telstra had been advised of the investigation into the substance of these claims which would ‘determine if any breaches of workplace law have occurred’.

Warning to employers

The investigation follows the Ombudsman’s earlier warning to employers who were considering rushing their workers onto AWAs prior to the Rudd Government’s transitional legislation which will prohibit new AWAs, that they must not subject their workers to undue pressure in order to achieve this outcome.

Campbell said if any worker feels under duress to sign an AWA or has any other concerns about fairness in their workplace they should immediately contact the Workplace Ombudsman on 1300 724 200, online at www.wo.gov.au or in person at one of the 26 offices across metropolitan and regional Australia.

The ACTU said earlier this week it would expose any companies which exploit the former Howard Government’s industrial laws by signing workers up on AWAs before Labor’s new legislation is introduced.

ACTU President Sharan Burrow said the Your Rights at Work campaign would continue to crack down on workplace intimidation, which led to workers unwillingly signing contracts.

Respect decision

‘We would ask all companies to actually respect the decision of a democratic Australia, to have a fair set of industrial laws, to not use AWAs, to not intimidate people into agreements they don’t want to sign,'  she said.

Unions are pushing Labor to speed up its abolition of WorkChoices, and even to back-date the legislation abolishing AWAs, for fear companies will force workers onto individual agreements of up to five years - but the new ALP Government is refusing to consider this.

Related

ACTU will expose moves to rush workers onto AWAs

 

 

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