Telstra EA 2012: Bargaining Begins

Bargaining for a new Enterprise Agreement (EA) in Telstra has officially begun with Telstra formally notifying its employees of bargaining on Wednesday 28 March.

All CEPU members will shortly receive a survey in the mail and are asked to complete the survey honestly and return it back to the CEPU as soon as possible.

This follows a number of preliminary meetings with the CEPU and other Telstra unions to discuss the broad timelines for bargaining.

The CEPU has agreed for the EA negotiations to start earlier than usual,  so CEPU members have the best chance of reaching an agreement to vote on before the current agreements nominal expiry date or by the time the current EA reaches its nominal expiry date in October this year.

Telstra said that it wants to create one simple, Fair Work Agreement.

Telstra brings to the table a legacy of the Liberal Party’s WorkChoices in the form of thousands of individual agreements (AWAs and ITEAs) and over 60 Employee non-union collective agreements (ECAs), themselves, like the EA.

Rationalising these agreements in a way that does not disadvantage any Telstra employee and which delivers a fair pay rise and good conditions to CEPU members will be a challenge for all the negotiators.

The CEPU is committed to bargaining in good faith to achieve an agreement which:

  • Maintains current conditions  and protections such as those CEPU members have recently identified as “bottom line” (e.g. redundancy entitlements, leave entitlements and the 36 ¾ hour week)
  • Supports the recognition and development of the skills of Telstra employees
  • Reflects the principal of equal pay for equal work
  • Reflects Telstra’s ongoing strength in the marketplace
  • Delivers real wage increases for Telstra employees.
  • Provides secure, long-term employment opportunities for Australian workers.

The Telstra unions are due to meet with Telstra on 4 April to draw up a preliminary list of bargaining issues and to establish a negotiating timetable. Members will be kept informed of developments through the E-bulletin and through state branch meetings and circulars.

CEPU NSW officials Shane Murphy & Peter O’Connell have already commenced workplace briefings with members to discuss the upcoming EBA.

Telstra EA: Member representation

Telstra would have advised employees of their right to representation at the bargaining table.

CEPU members are not required to nominate any bargaining representatives as the CEPU is the default representative for members during bargaining.

Non-Union members may choose to be represented by other individuals. Being a union member is an employee’s best guarantee of getting his/her issues on the table and having input into the way negotiations proceed.

If you know of a fellow worker who may not be a members encourage them to join

Voting on the EA.  

All employees who will be covered by the new EA will be to exercise their right to vote on any proposal for an agreement.

Around 20,000 employees will be “in scope” to be covered by the new Telstra EA. They will include:

  • Employees on expired Employee Collective Agreements;
  • Employees on ITEAs and expired AWAs (and some on non-expired AWAs who were given the choice of moving to the EA any time they liked);
  • Employees on the Telstra EA 2010-2012.

A number of employees will come into scope during the course of the negotiations as their current agreements expire they too will have the opportunity to have there say in any ballot for a new EA.

If you require any further information or if you require a briefing at your workplace, please contact Branch Assistant Secretary Shane Murphy or Branch Official Peter O’Connell on (02) 9893 7822.

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