The Telecommunications Sub-Contractors Association (TSCA) is administered by the CEPU

Meeting with Minister for Small Business

By doing what we have done we have proven that the ACCC processes are next to useless for the delivery of justice to the subbies.

Basically the big companies get away with their price fixing and monopoly practices, and the subbies continue to get screwed. However, we have now met with the Minister for Small Business, Dr Craig Emerson, and we have put the plight of the Telecommunications Sub Contractors before him in some detail.

We also demonstrated to him what a farce the ACCC processes have been so far and we called for changes to the laws.

We are planning to meet with him again to place concrete proposals for law changes before him, which in our view will allow the subbies to bargain collectively for a better deal.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) is supporting the campaign by the subbies association for a better deal.

National Trade Union Movement Support

They are currently making a submission to the Federal Government suggesting changes to the national laws which will help improve the rights of sub contractors.

We are also discussing with them the need for a media campaign aimed at exposing the plight of dependent sub contractors in the Telecom field. It takes a lot of resources to mount an effective campaign and the ACTU’s support and involvement will be invaluable.

ACCC ProcessesDespite our setbacks with the ACCC processes so far, our lawyers are moving to apply for a collective bargaining certificate via another process within the ACCC rules and regulations.

Whether successful or not, it will be invaluable for us to exhaust all avenues through the ACCC system, because our experiences will help with our efforts to get improvements to the laws.

Direct ActionWhile we are waiting for all this to happen, the problem is that most of the contractor companies and their masters in Telstra, Optus etc are still getting away with mistreating and exploiting the subbies.

So what do we do while we are waiting for law changes and other developments which may help us?

The only thing that often has an effect in this type of situation is direct action.

It has been suggested that the subbies should take a leaf out of the taxi drivers book or the pensioners book and organise a van blockade of the central business district in each state.

Let us know if you would support direct action such as this and we will start putting a campaign to achieve it together. It may be an effective way to win change.

Only sticking together and acting together will change the subbies plight.

Downer Needs TechsIf you are working with a contracting company performing Telstra or Optus work, think about this if you are unhappy. (Or if you are a subby otherwise looking for work).

Downer requires more Techs for the Foxtel contract and it requires fairly minor readjustments for you (so we are told), to change over should you so wish.

Downer is almost on its own as a company that at least increases subbies payments by the CPI each year, it places a lot of store and effort into health and safety, and at least it consults with the Techs and their representatives from time to time, (unlike most of the other companies).

Tell your mates who are looking for work.

No Instant Results – It Will HappenHow long have the subbies been mistreated for? Ever since Telecommunications contracting began is the answer. Is it getting better or worse? Worse is the answer. Can it be fixed overnight; is there a quick fix? No is the answer. The companies and the contractors have set the system up to suit themselves of course, not for the subbies.

The law has been drafted to suit the companies and not the subbies. The ACCC is certainly not working for the battlers, in our experience. The subbies are being divided and “individualised” by some contract company managements, making it harder for them to get a good deal.

Despite all these problems, eventually the subbies will fight back. Their cause is just and their treatment in most cases unacceptable. The Association is here for the long haul. We do know that just giving up or throwing ones hands up in frustration won’t fix the problem. Walking away won’t fix the problem. If you don’t fight you lose.

What do we need to do?

We need to expose the ACCC processes for what they are, to help win change.

We need to make sure the Labor Government changes the rules to improve life for dependent sub contractors.

We need to continue to expose the system for what it is doing to the subbies.

Unless something dramatic changes, we need to get the majority of the subbies to support direct action like they did in 2003 and 2004, over Foxtel’s mistreatment or something similar.

We will keep working on it, you can be sure of that. We aren’t going away any time soon.

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