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In the last Bulletin we reported that several areas were limiting annual leave particularly during the Xmas period. We have had more feedback and have since written to Telstra protesting against the restrictions (See below). We have complaints from Albury and will add that area to out complaint. If you have concerns in your area, please advise us asap. We await the Telstra response.



We write on behalf of members in the Warnambool/Ararat district of Victoria. Management has been advised to implement a new holiday rostering system which adversely affects our members. The rostering system advised to members is as follows:

  • 1 person on leave from 1 Dec to 31 Mar (4 months)
  • 2 persons on leave from 1 Apr to 30 Jun (3 months)
  • 3 persons on leave from 1 Jul to 30 Nov (5 months)

Our objections are:

  • The group has 18 staff and this is excessively restrictive particularly at the peak time of Xmas
  • It is family unfriendly
  • There is no operational reason eg peak workload to justify such restrictions
  • There are adequate resources to cover the workload in those periods.

We understand that this new policy has come down from the top, and is not local policy. Thus the local manager is merely implementing the policy. We also note that other districts are also implementing a similar policy.

In these circumstances, we seek that the policy be abandoned immediately. We are available to discuss the matter.



We often receive inquiries re classifications – for example should a position be classified as CFW5 or CFW7. We have prepared a questionnaire to assist in the assessment of your position. It is not conclusive but a good indicator. We can then assess your response and determine if a case exists. Please email us if you wish to have a copy of the questionnaire.



We are working our way through the issues. We have circulated a questionnaire to determine work done and classifications. We a planning a face to face meeting next week to discuss progress and future action.

Telco Bulletin Jan 2018


Members are reporting another attempt by Telstra to restrict annual leave, particularly during Nov, Dec, Jan and Feb. The complaint of members is that it is far too restrictive. The real problem is that Telstra will not retain enough staff as they must grant annual leave and LSL when reasonably requested. In order to deal with this we need each patch to advise of the Telstra proposal, the numbers of staff in the patch, whether managers are also affected, a suggested outcome and a contact point.



The ABC in its 7.30 Report has exposed some of the dubious practices associated with the training of its staff who work on Telecom and NBN contracts. We have a number of members in ISGM and have raised a number of issues with ISGM. Usually they are settled on terms not to be disclosed. However the 7.30 Report has raised issues which members have also raised with us. More to come. See the video at:



Telstra is still proceeding with the proposal to remove the Job Points scheme from the Job Points AWA. We are continuing to assist members. The issues involve the pressure on members to agree to significant pay cuts, the lump sum payments, RDOs, Workers compensation and classifications. We have a special email bulletin for CWU members affected by this issue. You need to be a member and contact us to subscribe to the special bulletin.



Many CWU members have been exposed to lead particularly with lead cables. Some members have recently reported that they have had blood tests and have been told that their lead levels well exceed the safe standard. The National Health & Medical Research Council recommends that if a person has a blood lead level greater than 5 micrograms per decilitre (ug/dl), the source should be investigated. If your blood lead levels are extremely high your doctor may recommend a treatment known as chelation therapy to rapidly decrease the amount of lead in your body.



If you suspect that you have been exposed to lead, and most lines staff have been, visit your doctor. He/She may recommend that you have a blood test to measure the amount of lead in your blood and determine whether you have lead poisoning. If you have a high level, you must submit an incident report and make a claim with Comcare.



Advise the CWU Vic Branch if you have a test. We want to know if you were involved in lead work and if so, what was your measured level of lead. We want to know this even if your lead level is not above the 5 ug/dl.  We will keep names confidential. If we receive enough responses, then we can gauge the percentage of lines staff affected and advise you. The Vic Dept of Health will also receive a notification from the pathology laboratory if your blood lead level is greater than 5 ug/dl.



We want to know even if your blood measurement is low!

Q1 Were you involved with lead cables or other lead exposure?               Yes/No? Any comment?

Q2 What was your measured level of lead?                                                               Blood count =

Q3 Optional:  Name?                                                                                                                  Phone?


In the last bulletin we reported the proposal by Telstra to remove the Incentive from the JP AWA. We have had a number of inquiries from members and held a meeting to discuss the proposal. We have developed a claim from members involved. We also note some new members and ongoing new inquiries. We have written to Telstra (letter below) seeking a meeting as soon as possible. The issues we seek to resolve are set out in the letter. Members involved should contact us to join the special email list. We will advise as we progress this matter.



The Victorian P&T Branch letter to Telstra:

"We refer to your letter of 8 December 2017 re the ceasing of the Job Points Incentive Plans from the Job Points AWA. We act for a number of members who have AWA Job Points contracts and who have a number of concerns with the proposal.

We seek a meeting with you as soon as possible to discuss these concerns. We will advise of the persons who we represent when we attend the meeting. We are currently seeking written authorisation from each member involved.

The matters we wish to discuss include:

  • The coercive nature of the proposal.
  • The need to leave the Job Points Incentive in the Job Points AWA.
  • The classification offered to members who accept the offer to exit the JP AWA. Our assessment is that members are performing at CFW5 level, not CFW4 level.
  • The sufficiency of the "transition" payment. We note from your offers to members that the "transition" payment varies between $3,000 and $27,000. This is grossly insufficient given the very significant pay cuts that are imposed on staff whether they remain on the JP AWA or not. Our view is that any "transition" payment should be three times the average incentive earnings, not 15% of the average incentive earnings.
  • Special arrangements for members who have Comcare benefits, resulting in an extremely poor "transition" payment
  • A review of the classification of members who have exited the Job Points AWA.
  • Clarification of the RDO position

If you have any questions, please contact Dan Dwyer or Val Butler in our Victorian office on 03 9387 0189. We look forward to your response"


We have received a number of inquiries from members re the decision of Telstra to terminate the incentive part of the Job Point Incentive AWA . The Union has always been concerned with AWAs as they were used extensively by Telstra to reduce union negotiating power. The AWAs effectively made most conditions subject to policy, which can be changed at any time.


What is the scheme? Telstra has over 9,000 AWAs at the moment. The AWAs are substantially identical except for job descriptions, pay and some other individual factors. Telstra says that there are 138 Job Points Incentive AWAs still in force. Telstra wants to get rid of these AWAs for reasons that look suspicious. There appears to be a bigger plan. Given the new proposals, it is obvious that Telstra's motive is to reduce wages.


The plan is to remove the "Incentive" from the Job Points Incentive AWA so that your pay will revert to your Fixed Remuneration. Telstra admits in its propaganda: " Currently individuals are on a low Fixed Remuneration ".


As the current Fixed Remuneration is about $45,000 and the incentives are in the order of $60,000 to $70,000, Telstra is a little too cute saying you have a choice. Telstra is certainly exerting pressure on you to "choose" the new (but lower paid) alternative contract of employment. Telstra is also offering lump sums presumably as a once only incentive to comply with their scheme. The Telstra action raises a number of issues.


  1. Can Telstra remove the Incentive from the Job Points Incentive AWA ?
  2. Has Telstra breached its undertaking to the then OEA regarding your remuneration?
  3. Is it legal to coerce members to change employment contracts?
  4. Current Fixed remuneration varies from member to member – Why?
  5. The lump sums offered vary from member to member (by nearly $20,000 we understand already) - Why?
  6. The Fixed remuneration in the Job Family offer varies from member to member. Why?
  7. The Workstream offer is CFW4 or CFW5 – most members would be working at CFW5 level. Why demote?
  8. The Fixed Remuneration in the Workstream offer varies even though it is at the one CFW level. Why?
  1. The suggestion that you are not entitled to RDOs is you change – Why?


We are collecting the personal letters to you so that we can analyse the current and proposed arrangements. Please assist by sending us a copy of your individual letter. We will keep your details confidential but use the figures to generate a summary and understand the scheme better.


We are now seeking members input to determine the extent of the pay reductions being implemented by Telstra. We will have a meeting of members at our office to discuss the proposal, the effects on members and our preliminary plans to resolve the disputes.


Meeting to Discuss Telstra AWA Proposal            (Inquiries - Phone Office on 03 9387 0189)

                                    Wednesday         6 December 2017             at 5pm

                                    CWU Office          75 Melville Rd, Brunswick West

Members may phone in but for security reasons you will need to phone the office for details.

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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