This week all Telstra EA employees have received information from Telstra about proposed changes to the current Telstra Enterprise Agreement 2015-2018.
Later this month, you will be asked to vote on these changes so it is important that all members understand what they involve.
Why the change?
This is more of the anti-union flavour of the current government. These changes (“variations”) to the EA are being proposed by Telstra in order to ensure that the current Agreement complies with the Turnbull Government’s Building Code 2016. Only companies that comply with the Code are eligible to tender for “building work” that is funded (above a certain threshold) by the Commonwealth.
Although the prime targets of the Code are the construction industry and its unions, “building work” includes telecommunications projects such as the NBN and other Commonwealth funded work in our sector, such as Defence contracts.
If Telstra is not “Code compliant” it may not be able to win contracts in these areas, but who is to say they were going to get them anyway? However, the whole issue of contracting for work for other employees, including the government, is fraught with danger for workers.
What does the Code do?
The Turnbull government’s Building Code is above all anti-union. It is explicitly designed to restrict the ability of unions to intervene in the workplace to protect members’ interests.
It also forbids any restrictions on the use of contractors and so helps contribute to the growth of precarious employment. Unfettered use of contractors is very much in line with the government’s anti-union agenda – Workchoices Mk2!!.
For these reasons, the CWU is absolutely opposed to the Code.
The changes Telstra is proposing do not have any direct effect on your employee entitlements under the EA, however it ultimately limits the ability of the Union to represent members.
They largely affect consultation processes such as those that occur when there is major change in the company. For instance, under the proposed variations, the CWU (and other Telstra unions) will have to show they have members affected by such change before the consultation requirement is triggered.
JOHN ELLERY LEROY LAZARO
CWU (T&S) Vic CWU (P&T) Vic
M. 0419 823 580 M. 0422 546 814
E. firstname.lastname@example.org E. email@example.com