Don't Go To Work Without Us!


You worked hard until Xmas and beyond. You dealt with the queues. You did the overtime. You delivered the mail and parcels. And You have since delivered and worked in excessive heat. Now the CEO wants to reward you - with a stick!

You are not allowed to get sick or injured on either side of Australia Day.

If so you will be punished with the loss of a day's pay! Post has tried this on before.

It is not a requirement that you produce a certificate if you are ill or injured. If it is convenient to get a certificate, then get one. But if you are threatened with loss of pay, we will take the matter to the appropriate jurisdiction and make Post pay.

The HR Manual is not the law!
Post misleading you: Unplanned Leave ond Public Holidays - A reminder to all staff that if you take unplanned leave on either side of the Australia Day Public Holiday you will be required to produce the appropriate documentation associated with that leaveie. Medical Certificate or Stat Dec. - If an employee takes unplanned leave and fails to produce the required documentation, then it will be processed as Leave Without Pay.

Dan Dwyer
CEPU Divisional Secretary
Post Date: 17th January 2014 | National Secretary

Workers send a Strong message to Ahmed Fahour
Last week, Post began paying the extra 15c meal allowance as a result of Ahmed Fahour’s magnanimous EBA gesture.

At Dandenong Letters Centre, the payment took the form of 15c sticky-taped to the outside of the meal allowance envelopes. This raised the ire of all the workers and dramatically highlighted just how miserable AP really is.

Greatly insulted by this paltry "pay rise", someone decided to donate it to Ahmed Fahour to help with the repayments on his new house. So they attached it to the Xmas tree situated on the work floor just outside one of the managers’ offices.

This was on Friday night about 10PM. What happened next was truly amazing - the likes of which has never been seen in this place before. Over the course of the next several hours, worker after worker made a pilgrimage to the tree and also attached their meal allowance envelopes to the tree, along with their 15c donation to Ahmed.

By end of the day, Saturday morning, the Xmas tree was literally covered with empty envelopes with their 15c attached, bearing various Xmas greetings to the AP boss, Ahmed Fahour. 

There were no rude or insulting remarks. Most simply wished Ahmed a "Happy Xmas" or offered it towards his new house. One simply said, "4.7m + 15c"! As one worker said, "We are donating to Ahmed 100% of our pay rise!"

If Ahmed should in any way feel insulted by these donations - of receiving just a miserly 15c -then, by god, so do we!

Post script: Management called the CWU delegate into the office the following Monday and presented him with an envelope stuffed with all the allowance packets, with the 15c attached, asking what they should do with them. Forward them to the person that they were intended for he said. They couldn't do that they said!

Members who still wish to make a donation to Ahmed should mail them in to Ahmed "15c" Fahour Appeal 111 Bourke St. Melbourne 3000. Use your postage stamps left over from your last Xmas "Bonus"
(Source: CWU member Vic Branch).

AP profits up, Fahour’s pay up, demands for your share up
AP profits up, Ahmed Fahour’s pay up big time, and petitions by you demanding your share up. We have received hundreds of petitions from members directly into the CWU national office. State Branches have also received hundreds of responses from members.

Many members have expressed their absolute disgust with the CEO’s pay increase from $2.8 million last year to $4.7 million this year, especially given his mantra of “pay restraint” during his EBA “Roadshows”.

Keep the petitions coming. We will be formerly submitting them to AP in the New Year. We will not be providing people’s names to AP. Contact us directly (details below) in the CWU national office if you need any more copies for your workplace.

Union provides submission to Senate on Australia Post
If you listen to AP mail volumes are declining faster than predicted and it is all because of the internet.

But there’s more to the story said the Union in its written submission to the current Senate Inquiry into the performance, importance and role of AP in the Australia communities and LPOs.

Yes traditional mail volumes are going down. Yes substitution by email is going up. But mail is not dead. This is not a business that is going to go away anytime soon. AP presents a far more pessimistic outlook than that provided by international postal experts. Why? If you want to close post offices, reduce the workforce and cut services you need a permanent change in thinking. Mail volumes are declining so of course it is killing AP - except it’s not. Undermining postal services will do much more harm to AP than declining mail volumes.

Individual posties complain that AP is fiddling the figures. Mail volume is going up, not down. Posties are being bullied into doing ever longer rounds. A full-time postie in a large capital city says he is working pretty consistently 10 hour days. “Overtime used to be optional once, not anymore.” A part-time postie in the same capital city said he is coerced by his team leader into doing 8 1/2 hours every day.

 If a postie says, “Don’t tell me about falling mail volumes, I’m carrying more than ever,” a lot of the time they will be correct. Posties are delivering fewer letters but small parcels and packets have replaced the declining volume of traditional letters. Domestic parcel volumes are increasing at an unprecedented rate, up 9.3% in 2012 – 2013. Around 84 % of all small parcels are processed through the delivery centres, with more than two thirds of these now delivered by posties. Most posties are working harder than ever.

Alongside our posties, our retail members in post offices are under increasing pressure. Many offices run short staffed. People do unpaid time. The big rise in parcels because of the popularity of online shopping brings foot traffic but has put retail workers under more pressure and exposed to health and safety risks. Parcels not delivered by contractors are returned to post offices. It is not uncommon for big, awkward and heavy parcels to present at post offices. Recently a car gear box turned up as a carded parcel. There is minimal parcel handling equipment and limited storage space in most post offices. Asking workers to get someone to help lift a parcel is not feasible in a busy post office nor is it an acceptable work method.

Notwithstanding that members are working harder than ever they will receive a total of 1.5% into salary this year which is again another pay cut in real terms. AP should at least commit to top up pay to CPI and engage with the union on the profit share commitment that was promised during the EBA discussions.

CWU asked to give evidence to Senate inquiry into Australia Post
National Assistant Secretary, Martin O’Nea and Senior Industrial Officer, Carol Gee gave evidence last week to the Senate Inquiry into Australia Post’s performance and Licenced Post Offices.

Your union was upfront in areas where you have identified that Post have lost their way, but reinforced where you say that they are getting it right. Martin spent additional time in Canberra briefing politicians of all political flavours and received positive responses and acknowledgments that AP has a duty to provide a top notch service to the public of Australia, especially in regional and rural areas that rely on that service so much.

Martin also addressed Wagga Wagga Council, the first time in the council’s history that a union has addressed them, and found much common ground on the maintenance of existing services to Regional Australia.

The Council passed a motion calling on Australia Post to maintain existing services in Wagga Wagga and in Regional Australia in general. Your union’s lobbying efforts so far have seen Australia Post scale back some of the service reduction proposals but more work needs to be done.

We have a number of meetings scheduled with interested parties in the New Year and will continue to speak out on issues of service reductions to the Australian public. The Full Senate Inquiry report is due out in March of next year. If you have any suggestions on these issues do not hesitate to contact us.

Senate highlights
Q&A highlights of CWU in Senate
Q. Can you provide some introductory comments?
A. (CWU) AP has lost its way. The staffing freeze has failed miserably. In six months, over 450 positions have been stripped from the frontline network. The abolition of the 'clear floor' policy, the direction in regional areas of no overtime and return mail by 3.00pm,the proposed cuts to services in regional Victoria and New South Wales with no consultation and attempts to gag the union are all examples of where AP lost its way.

Q. How is carting mail from Ballarat to Dandenong, Geelong to Dandenong, Bendigo to Dandenong, Mildura to Dandenong and then it is going to go back out again going to be more efficient delivery of the mail?
A. (CWU) Letters would have a longer journey. The rationale is cost saving. Jobs would be going if this proposal went ahead. No changes should be made without full engagement and consultation with the union and regional Australia.

Q. We have seen that we have only had three price rises on stamps in 20 years do you have anything to say about that?
A. (CWU) If services are going to be maintained then we would support paying more for a stamp. The stamp has got to be the greatest bargain in Australia, compared to inflation and the price increases of other products.

Q. What’s the motivation behind the developments of moving from employees with AP owned establishments to outsourcing the work to others over the past decade or so?
A. (CWU) Corporate post offices are extremely important. They are more important than LPOs, because they provide a full service. If an LPO cannot run the post office then AP should open a corporate. LPOs are a convenient tool for allowing wages, conditions and service standards to fall without AP having to take the blame for that.
Curiously, Mr Fahour stated that he did not accept the union’s statement that LPOs are not important. But that’s not what we said. We said corporate POs are more important than LPOs. Fahour, on the other hand, made no mention of the importance of corporate POs!

Q&A highlights of AP in Senate
Q. Is that a common occurrence in Australia Post that a postie might have to bring mail back?
A. (Mr Fahour) It is true, we do not have to deliver 100 per cent on time or whatever the standard is. We have storms, we have hurricanes and we have situations that make it difficult. Roads get flooded.

Q. If you do not have a storm or a flood and everyone is on board, would you then have 100 per cent delivery?
A. (Mr Fahour) It is quite probable that if you hold everything else constant, our model assumes that we will deliver all the mail.

Q. How often is it occurring that you are delivering all the mail? Is it more often that you are not delivering, or is it more often that you are delivering 100 per cent of the mail?
A. (Mr Fahour) We eventually deliver all the mail.

No mention here of the deliberate policy decisions not to fill jobs, to leave runs behind, and to be back at the facility by 3pm to keep costs down!

The Senate is due to report 11 December 2013. We cannot say for certain what the outcomes of the Senate Inquiry will be. But given the flurry of behind the scenes activity by Ahmed Fahour personally it is likely LPOs will receive assistance - nothing for corporate POs. Whether regional and rural mail services and postal workers jobs will be saved is anyone’s guess.

Telstra proceeds with voluntary redundancies
Telstra is proceeding with the voluntary redundancies in Customer Service Delivery (CSD).

The formal offers follow an initial invitation for expressions of interest and a period of consultation with the CWU about just how the redundancies should be processed.

The CWU has insisted that the redundancy procedures in the current Enterprise Agreement be followed in this exercise. We have been concerned that the voluntary nature of the redundancies not be used as a pretext for by-passing those processes, including the provision of information to the union about the location of the jobs affected and the number in each location.

Having failed to reach agreement on these issues, the CWU lodged a dispute with the Fair Work Commission.

The matter was heard on Tuesday 3 November and resulted in Telstra agreeing to provide the information about locations sought by the CWU.

Telstra has also agreed to meet with the CWU with a view to getting agreement about how any such large scale voluntary redundancies should be dealt with in future.

State branch officials are now in a position to assess the impact of the redundancies in particular locations, consult with members in these areas and to assure themselves that the redundancies are indeed voluntary.

Any members involved in this process who are unsure about the procedures or their entitlements should contact their state branch.

CWU meets with Telstra on NBN training
The CWU met with Telstra on 11 December to receive the latest update on the company’s NBN-related training programme.

Under the agreements between Telstra, NBN Co and the Commonwealth negotiated in 2011, Telstra receives $100 million from the federal government to retrain employees in NBN-related functions.

The CWU has a role in monitoring the implementation of the training programme and attends quarterly briefings on progress.

At the most recent meeting, Telstra reported that it is continuing to develop new NBN-related courses as well as to train employees in courses developed over the last two years.

For field staff, the Digital Home programme is the most widely delivered course, with some 300 people having been trained in this area in the 6 months up until December and a similar number expected in the next 6 months.

CTs are also now receiving Telstra Platinum training designed to equip them to deliver high-end customer services in the consumer area.

Training is also getting underway in some design and construction areas.

Telstra has confirmed that most staff offered the opportunity for retraining are keen to take advantage of it. Indeed the CWU is aware of there having been considerable frustration among some members who have had difficulty getting release to attend the courses.

Any members in this situation should contact their state branch.

Optus award modernisation
The CWU is continuing its discussions with Optus about the creation of a modern Enterprise Award for the company. The parties have met twice since the matter was reported on in the last E-bulletin.

Optus has indicated a strong preference to continue on with an enterprise-specific award such as it has now.

The CWU’s view is that support for such an award would be in line with our position in relation to Telstra. The fact is that the telecommunications industry continues to be highly concentrated and Telstra and Optus still stand out over and above the rest of the industry as full-service carriers. They are more complex businesses than the smaller companies to which the general industry award (the Telecommunications Services Award) may apply.

At the same time, the CWU wants to ensure that Optus employees are at least as well off on a modern Enterprise Award as they would be if the Telecommunications Services Award (TSA) was providing the relevant “safety net” for future agreements.

Current discussions with Optus are focussed on this question. We are going through the TSA and the draft Optus modern award to see what – if any- adjustments need to be made to ensure the best outcome for Optus employees.

Optus members will be kept informed about the progress of these discussions.

NBN Strategic Review: key pieces of jigsaw still missing
The Strategic Review conducted by NBN Co into the progress of the NBN project was released on 12 November.

But key information about the actual costs of the project has not been made public.

As expected, the Review has confirmed what all in the industry have long known: the project’s real costs and timetable have for some time borne little resemblance to what has existed on paper, even with continual re-jigging of targets in successive corporate plans.

That is why so many of the companies involved in the project, from the prime contractors down, have been losing money.

The Review has found that neither the former Labor Government nor the present Coalition have made realistic estimates of the total costs of their models.

Labor’s Fibre-to-the-Home model is estimated to have end up costing some $29 billion more than planned – and taking a further 3 years to complete.

But the Review also found that the Coalition’s mixed technology plan will itself cost $41 billion, an increase of close to 40% on the Coalition’s pre-election estimates. It also found that the Coalition’s short-term target of providing broadband speeds of 25Mb/s to all Australians by 2016 was not achievable.

These sobering –but unsurprising – findings can bring no joy to either side of politics. They point to a mishandling of communications policy by both Coalition and Labor governments over many years – above all in the area of fixed network investment. At some stage the full extent of those failures and their implications for future policy development must be assessed.

In the short term, however, the task is to re- establish the NBN project on a realistic economic footing. But here two key pieces of information – the current actual cost per premises passed by the NBN and the estimated costs of copper remediation –have not been made public.

Labour costs make up the bulk of both these items. As the CWU has insisted for some time, it is critical that a re-booted NBN roll-out be based on a labour budget that reflects not only fair rates but also training costs and costs of health and safety compliance.

Without an open and realistic consideration of these basic questions the project will continue to founder.

Industry consolidation: TPG buys AAPT
In another sign that the world of superfast broadband may see fewer major players in the market, TPG has acquired AAPT from Telecom New Zealand for some $450 million.

The sale completes the sell down of Telecom New Zealand’s holding in the troubled business which it acquired in 1999 for $2.2 billion. AAPT’s consumer division was sold to iiNet in 2010 for $60 million.

But while iiNet’s move was aimed at quickly expanding that company’s customer base, TPG’s is predominantly an asset play.

The acquisition will expand TPG’s infrastructure holdings to include an extra 11,000 kilometres of inter-capital and backhaul fibre.

Critically, it will allow TPG direct access to 101 out of the 121 NBN Points of Interconnection (POIs), positioning the company to be a fourth infrastructure-based competitor (along with Telstra, Optus and iiNet/Internode) in the wireline broadband market.

Is further consolidation between these companies – and middle order players like M2 – on the cards?

Much will depend on the way the economics of the NBN play out once pricing for access to that network has been finally settled and retailers have had the time and opportunity to build some real scale.

The signs to date, however, suggest that only those with deep pockets and a wide customer base are likely to thrive in the emerging fixed network environment.