Telstra: improving the relationship is vital

There’s been a lot of drama mixed in with specially coded words following Telstra’s HR managers decided to steer the EA talks towards a brick wall.Telstra managers are wandering the country claiming we want to push agreements that they describe as “illegal” and are “side agreements” that threaten their ability to secure the NBN contract.

The Deputy Prime Minister knocked some of these claims for six yesterday – here’s our story on that:

But what are these side agreements that supposedly threaten to bring down Australia’s fourth largest company?

The documents are an important way of re-establishing a relationship that — let’s face it — for most part has been one-sided and dysfunctional.

They seek to wipe the slate clean and get management and unions working together for the good of the company.

They’re not side agreements at all – they mean alot to the members represented by the unions.

Just like we don’t treat the NBN as a “side agreement”, Telstra managers shouldn’t be allowed to get away with language that treats serious and genuine efforts to re-build relationships as “side agreements”.

Faced with a skills shortage environment — with NBN bidders just itching to poach staff — Telstra management should look to the words of the Deputy Prime Minister:

“It’s the Government’s view that cooperative workplace relations drive productivity, employee engagement and satisfaction… I hope that by working together the union movement and Telstra can develop outcomes which are in the best interests of Telstra employees,” Ms Gillard said in a letter to the ACTU on 20 June, 2008.

So in the interests of fostering a cooperative workplace relations environment to drive productivity, employee engagement and satisfaction we presented Telstra with these two documents:

Please read them and let us know what you think – because we believe they will help Telstra become a stronger, more productive company by creating a better working relationship. 

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