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ABCC Code amendement

Telstra EA and Building code amendment

The ETU have secured a change to the Turnbull Government ABCC legislation that covers essential service workers including Telecommunications.The change was the result of SA Power refusing to apply for an exemption due to the word "May" as opposed to the word "Must" in the legislation .Senator Xenophon helped to push for the changes after lobbying from the ETU and Federal court action in response to SA Power's stance.



Workeres in essential services which includes water,sewawage,electricity,gas supply and telecommunications can now be exempted from the draconian ABCC code. Your Branch will now be demanding that Telstra abandon their plans to change the current EA.We are organising a telephone hookup for members.Details to follow 


Here is the press release from the ETU


Monday August 21, 2017 



Union welcomes government code retreat

The union representing people working in the electricity industry has welcomed a government backdown on the 2016 building code after Employment Minister Michaelia Cash revised the code to explicitly exclude essential services workers.  The backflip follows a campaign by union members across the country.


Electrical Trades Union national secretary Allen Hicks said the retreat was a good victory, but that there was still a great deal of work to do before balance was restored to Australia’s work systems.


“Today’s backdown prevents thousands of essential services workers from joining people in the construction industry as second-class citizens.”


“It is impossible to describe this as a satisfactory outcome given that the Minister’s code continues to take wages from working people and sow industrial disharmony in the construction sector, but people in essential services can breathe a little easier for the moment, knowing they will not also be caught up in the chaos.”


“The rules are still rigged against working people – they’re just a little less rigged in one particular area. This is a great victory for the power industry, but there is still a much larger battle to make Australia a fair place to work and live.”


The ruling will have a direct impact on the negotiation of a new industrial agreement in the South Australian power industry, where foreign-owned South Australia Power Networks (SAPN) had been relying upon a ruling by the Australian Building and Construction Commission that exempted only part of the company’s workforce to push through separate agreements that opened the door to experienced locals being replaced with cut-price labour hire workers.


“This paves the way to industrial harmony in South Australia,” Mr Hicks said. “In light of today’s changes I invite SAPN management to negotiate a single deal for all their workforce in good faith with the people who keep South Australia running.” 




Telco News


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                                  
Secretary                       Secretary
CWU (T&S) Vic              CWU (P&T) Vic
M. 0419 823 580             M. 0422 546 814
E.   E.

Telco News Bulletin 20th July


It’s that time of year again. Remember that your Union dues are tax deductible and you may also be able to claim a deduction for the difference between any meal allowances that you receive and the meal allowance rate that is set by the taxation office which is currently $28.80. Discuss this with your Tax agent/Accountant. Shop Stewards and HSR’s may also be able to claim extra deductions for out of pocket expenses if they are related to your employment. Again discuss this with your Tax agent/accountant.




Telstra recently announced that they eliminate as many as 1400 jobs across the company; many of these jobs will be in the CFW workforce.

Telstra has blamed the NBN and digital disruption for its decision to drastically restructure its workforce. However, with tens of thousands of jobs slashed in the last two decades , to Telstra workers these job losses and excuses for them all sound the same. As usual Telstra claim there will be no impact on customer service, they claim this with their tongues planted firmly in their cheeks.

It is important for Telstra members to know that Telstra does not advise the union ahead of these announcements, nor do we get any information from the company in regards to actual detail. In fact we rely on members to tell us what is happening!  If you don’t tell us we don’t know! Consultation before the fact does not occur.

Despite meetings with Telstra AFTER the announcements are made we are yet to hear any specific detail from Telstra as to where and when the redundancies will occur. In the meantime if you have information about your specific workgroup please advise the CWU office.

 If you are targeted for redundancy and you do not want to leave, it is important that you let us know ASAP, so we can explore the possibility of swaps or other action especially if you feel you have been unfairly selected.




Telstra and Dodo customers have given the telcos a bad rap in a CHOICE survey that found 62 per cent of Australians are experiencing slow speeds, disconnection and drop-out issues with their internet. More than 2,000 people were surveyed about their internet use in the past six months with speed and reliability getting the worst ratings on broadband services.

Telstra has been under scrutiny in the past two years for repeated service drop-outs  and has apologised to customers more than once . CHOICE chief executive officer Alan Kirkland said he was not surprised Telstra rated poorly on value for money."[Telstra] are one of the most expensive providers," he said.

"When we looked at Telstra services last year and compared like-for-like with other services we found that consumers can pay a premium of up to 92 per cent just for going with Telstra." A Telstra spokesman said they understood "value and a great network experience" was important for customers.

The survey also identified bundled offers were not the most important factor for consumers when selecting a plan, with customers instead focused on a basic service that was reliable and value for money. "When it comes to broadband you want it to work when you need it to work, whether you're trying to watch a movie or work from home," he said.



Thousands of workers turned up for their first shifts last weekend at lower hourly rates after the Fair Work Commission decision to cut penalty rates came into play last Sunday. The occasion was marked across the country by protests from unions railing against the decision handed down in February.

The cuts to penalty rates affect up to 700,000 workers in the hospitality, retail, pharmaceutical and fast food industries and will be phased in over the next two to three years. Workers lose up to 5 per cent of their wage during the first phase. Once the full cuts take effect, workers will have lost up to 25 per cent of their hourly wage. It is expected they will lose up to $6000 a year. This comes at a time when wages growth is stagnant and workers are going backwards.

While the cuts do not immediately effect Communications workers, it is still a fight for the entire union movement. Workers’ wages have stagnated, in many instances the enterprise bargaining system is not delivering for workers either with below CPI outcomes that has the effect of imposing a pay cut on workers.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten reiterated his pledge at a rally last Sunday to overturn cuts to penalty rates should he win the next election."Labor will not stand by and see harm done to the pay packets of workers," he said at a rally in Caboolture, Queensland.

Authorised: Leroy Lazaro, Branch Secretary


For further information contact the union office: (03) 9600 9100 or

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