Telstra risking jobs, $11.9 billion on broadband tender: ACTU

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Telstra risking jobs, $11.9 billion on broadband tender: ACTU

The ACTU has accused Telstra of putting thousands of jobs and $11.9 billion of shareholder value at risk because of its ‘aggressive and uncompromising stance’ on the proposed new broadband network.

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The ACTU has accused Telstra of putting thousands of jobs and $11.9 billion of shareholder value at risk because of its ‘aggressive and uncompromising stance’ on the proposed new broadband network.

ACTU secretary Jeff Lawrence said Telstra management has threatened to walk away from the broadband tender; warned they will not bid unless they can be assured of an exorbitant 18% rate of return; and is refusing to compromise on key aspects of the project.

Aggressive approach

This aggressive and hardline approach is unacceptable,’ Lawrence said.

'It is putting the long term interests of Telstra shareholders and the jobs of employees at risk.'

The National Broadband Network will be a crucial part of Australia’s infrastructure for the remainder of the twenty-first century.'

It is essential that Australia’s biggest telecommunications company is involved in the tender.

Lawrence said the combative stance by Telstra’s senior management has the potential to cause a breakdown in relations with the Government, the industry regulator and its staff and customers.

Repair damage

Telstra should move to repair the damage it is causing by adopting a more co-operative and constructive approach to its relations with all stakeholders,’ he said.

Meanwhile, Telstra is facing a series of strikes and disruptions if it goes ahead with its latest plan to put its workforce on a non-union agreement.

The deal offers a 12.5% pay rise over three years, and lifts the cut-off salary at which workers receive no overtime, holiday penalties or on-call payments from $52,000 a year to $72,975.

Existing and new employees will have the same redundancy entitlements and workers will have the choice to be represented in disputes or redundancy appeals by a union or a friend.

Workers will have their first 4.5% pay rise back-dated to 2 October, but only if the worker votes in favour by 31 December.

CEPU national president Ed Husic said only 68% of the workers had expressed interest in the deal.

Two-day strikes

The union will this week consider plans for 24-hour stoppages and two-day strikes, to put pressure on Telstra management for a new union deal.

Husic said the action would include rolling strikes and bans across the nation.

Telstra has publicly said they believe it will only be the stock-standard approach of maybe one, two days industrial action, he said. But without telegraphing the action itself, we'll be looking to take a variety of steps in terms of protected industrial action - be they stoppages over 24, 48 hours or longer.'

Combined with bans, we believe that will drive the message home to Telstra that our members are serious about getting a union-negotiated deal.

The union's divisional executive will discuss the action at a meeting scheduled to be held later this week.

Gillard’s objections

Last month, IR Minister Julia Gillard wrote to the ACTU last month saying elements of Telstra's earlier proposed non-union deal did not meet either the spirit or the letter of Labor's Forward with Fairness policy.

Workers in two divisions of Telstra have already rejected the earlier deal.

In the old deal, the redundancy entitlements and pay rises for new employees were significantly lower than for existing employees and had no reference to union consultation when Telstra was planning redundancies.


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