The CWU met with Telstra on Thursday 26 February in response to its decision to reduce rest breaks for Directory Assistance workers.
Telstra notified the CWU on 23rd February that it proposed to introduce changes to rest breaks in its Voice Directory Assistance contact centres in Maryborough, Toowoomba and Melbourne. The proposed changes would mean a reduction in the number of breaks available to the Telstra employees working at these centres.
Currently, Directory Assistance staff get five breaks per shift (2x15 minutes and 3x10 minutes). Telstra wants to bring the breaks into line with those at its other call centres, as provided for by the current Enterprise Agreement (EA). Under that agreement call centre staff, except for those in E000, are entitled to an (unpaid) meal break plus two ten minute (paid) rest breaks.
It is obvious that this change represents a major reduction in working conditions for those affected, many of whom are long standing employees of the company.
At the time the current EA was approved, the CWU received many representations from Directory Assistance members concerned about the impacts of work break reductions.
We received assurances from Telstra at that time that no changes would be introduced without full consultation with both staff and the CWU.
Telstra has now initiated that process. The CWU has received details from Telstra about current call handling times, call volumes and performance targets for workers in these centres.
The CWU now seeks further information from affected members about current work conditions. Members should contact their state branch immediately.