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