Overview of progress to date
As was noted in the last bargaining update, we are fast approaching the “pointy end” of Enterprise Agreement negotiations – at least if there is to be an agreement in place by September/October.
A tight timetable
The nominal expiry date for the present Enterprise Agreement is 24 September and pay rises for those on Telstra’s performance-based system are due in October so ideally negotiations would be completed in time for everyone to get a pay increase around that time.
The negotiators are still working towards this objective.
To try to meet the timelines, the meeting schedule has now been increased to two full day meetings a week, with the next meetings due to be held on Monday 30 July and Wednesday 1 August.
In addition to these meetings, CEPU negotiators are also meeting regularly with other members of the Telstra unions’ Single Bargaining Unit (SBU) to establish shared understandings and positions and to prepare for each negotiation.
The CEPU negotiators are also reporting regularly to the union’s Telecommunications Council which is effectively the internal union steering committee during bargaining.
Most recent meeting
The most recent meeting between Telstra and the unions’ Single Bargaining Unit (SBU) as held on Wednesday 25 July. This meeting once again looked at key issues such as redundancy entitlements, irregular hours of work and pay structures.
Redundancy and Redeployment
As previously reported, Telstra initially proposed that employees who knocked back a “suitable” redeployment offer would not be eligible for any redundancy payment at all. The CEPU strongly opposed that proposition and Telstra is no longer pursuing it.
Discussion is now focussing more on the procedures and conditions pertaining to redeployment. These will be considered at meetings scheduled for this week.
Hours of work
Telstra’s early proposals on rosters, shifts and span of hours were subject to further discussion.
The most controversial parts of the proposals relate to changes in conditions for new employees working in call centres. Here Telstra wants to increase the span of ordinary hours and to cut penalty rates for work outside those hours.
There are, however, some changes proposed for existing employees which could have the effect of reducing current overtime and penalty entitlements.
For instance Telstra is proposing that current committed scheduling arrangements apply across the whole company, not just in call centres. The CEPU believes this could allow Telstra to require employees to work up to 48 hours a week for a number of weeks in a row without paying any overtime.
No agreement has to date been reached on these proposals.
A number of allowances are being reviewed as part of these negotiations e.g. height allowance and Excess Travelling Time (ETT). Telstra has put some proposals in this area which the CEPU is currently reviewing.
The CEPU has again raised the issue of the inclusion of travel allowance and other related travel conditions (e.g. remote area travel) in the new agreement.
Further discussions are scheduled for next week.
We encourage feedback from our members on these issues and if you would like to send in your comments, suggestions or questions, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.