NBN Co field engineers: take-home pay at serious risk

As members may be aware, NBN Co is proposing a significant change to the way their Field Engineers (FE) are employed as the national wholesaler moves away from the construction phase, and into a network maintenance phase.

The changes, if they proceed, would effectively terminate all FE employment contracts, re-engaging individuals under the current enterprise agreement. NBN Co say the changes are necessary to ensure the working arrangements of its FEs reflects the needs of the network.

We say, it’s a shameless cash-grab and that NBN Co are being dishonest with its employees.

At briefings held with employees, NBN say that FE rates of pay won’t be reduced. Whilst this is technically true, they are scrapping the current on-call allowance which will leave many FEs worse off, financially.

Furthermore, the changes would mean FEs would be effectively made shift-workers – expanding the span of hours NBN Co can roster a FE to work, on ordinary duty. This would, of course, attract a penalty rate, but not an overtime payment.

NBN Co have attempted to rush through this change, threatening to make those who do not sign their new contracts redundant – effectively punitively punishing workers for not rolling over and accepting a significant risk to their ongoing earnings.

CWU members have expressed to us their concerns with the proposal and we have sought for their originally-planned date of April 4 to close-out consultation with employees and the Union to be set aside, to allow for meaningful, genuine consultation to occur, in good faith.

A meeting has been scheduled between NBN Co and the Union for April 5. We will report the outcomes of those talks back to members. Until then, members with concerns should not sign a new contract.

In the meantime, members with concerns  should you require any further information, please contact Branch Assistant Secretaries Cameron Bird, Peter Chaloner or Nick Townsend, or Branch Officials Cade Anderson, Lisa Bahls, Peter O’Connell or Brett O’Neill on (02) 9893 7822 when calling from NSW or the ACT, (07) 3255 0440 from QLD or (08) 8443 7389 from SA or the NT.

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