An opportunity for a brighter future at Telstra

Negotiations for a new CEPU Telstra EBA08 commenced on Thursday 15 May.

These negotiations come at a critical time for the telecommunications industry. Proposals for the National Broadband Network are due by July 25. If successful in its bid, Telstra and its skilled employees could play a critical role in our nation’s future economic competitiveness, and this will provide for an alternative revenue stream for the future in the company.

It will also be the first negotiations since the election of a new Labor Government, and the rejection by the Australian people of the Howard Government’s WorkChoices regime. From our point of view, this marks the start of a new era. Employers, Unions and Government must take the opportunity to work together for the common good.

These are very important negotiations for all Telstra employees, whether directly affected, or on a current or expired individual agreement. These negotiations will set the standard for all future deals and Unions will vigorously pursue the ability of all staff to access the benefits and protections of the EBA.

Because of the importance of these negotiations, the Telstra Unions have invited the ACTU to spearhead our efforts. ACTU Secretary Jeff Lawrence personally offered to attend Thursday’s meeting with Telstra to provide input and guidance – an offer that, remarkable, Telstra’s HR Managers rejected.

The ACTU collectively represents 2 million Australian workers and their families. The Your Rights at Work campaign, including marginal seat activity, TV ads and community advocacy played a pivotal role in the election of the new Rudd Labor Government.

The strong feedback from members has been overwhelming – they strongly welcome the ACTU’s involvement.

The ACTU will play an ongoing role in the campaign and ensure worker and consumer interests are heard. We are confident that senior management will welcome the influence and assistance the ACTU can provide.

Log of Claims on Telstra

The ongoing commitment and creativity of Telstra staff is central to the company’s future.   It is in the interest of all parties to ensure this EBA means Telstra can continue to attract and retain highly skilled and motivated employees.  

To this end, the Unions proposed the following broad principles to the management:

  • Good secure jobs for a skilled workforce who delivers important services to the community.
  • Protection of current conditions including the Redundancy Agreement.
  • A fair balance between work commitments and family and community life.
  • A workplace where employees get a genuine say about decisions that affect them.
  • Decent pay rises that keep pace with the cost of living and also recognise the contribution of staff.
  • Fair and equitable performance management arrangements.
  • The right to join and be represented by a Union and access to effective conciliation and arbitration.

Your returned EBA08 surveys have played a huge determining factor in the CEPU’s log of claims.

Workers create Telstra’s business and profits

The first day of EBA talks were highlighted by a presentation by David Moffatt who heads up Telstra’s Consumer Marketing and Channels business.  Moffatt has highlighted the success of Telstra’s business which he says comes as a result of increased customer usage of services.

To the end of December 2007 consider the following:

  • Mobile phone calls have risen 18.6% to 4.819 billion minutes of talking.
  • SMS grew by 44.8% with close to a billion more text messages sent and received compared to the same period last year.   On a daily basis this translates to 17.6 million messages per day.
  • Wireless broadband services are also increasing with 136,000 more customers signing up for that service in six months.
  • Even Telstra’s fixed line business grew by 48,000 new connections, an increase of 0.3%.   Moffatt explained that Telstra’s growth in this traditional declining area was better than any where else in the world.
  • Net profit for Telstra was $1.9 billion for the half year up from $1.7 billion last year and an increase of 13%.

Clearly the Unions are putting the case that Telstra success arose from all its hard working and dedicated staff and we want to ensure they share in the benefits for their efforts. 

We therefore should be able to secure a fair and forward looking agreement that rewards everybody’s hard work and recognises respect for workplace rights

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