The CWU and other Telstra unions met with Telstra on 12 July for discussions on the company’s performance pay system, as provided for by the current Enterprise Agreement.
The Agreement requires Telstra to meet with the unions on a quarterly basis to discuss high level issues relating to both performance management and performance pay, including the annual pay review. The recent meeting focussed largely on the review and the pay matrix used under the Job Family pay system.
While CWU members tend to come from areas which still work under the Workstream pay and classification structure, the majority of Telstra employees, whether on AWAs or on the EA, work under a performance-based system. So while opposing such systems, the CWU regards it as important to engage with Telstra on the way they are being implemented.
Specific issues raised by the unions at the meeting included the failure of some local management to be able to explain the basis for individual ratings together with reports that management in some areas had been given blanket directions about rating outcomes (e.g. more 2s than last year).
These two issues are clearly two sides of the same coin and go to the heart of the problem with such approaches. Despite their emphasis on individual performance, the overall outcomes of these systems are largely pre-determined – either statistically or, more crudely, through cost management at a local level.
Not everyone is going to get a top grading, no matter how well anyone performs.
Although outside the discussion of the pay matrix, the CWU also used the meeting to raise the issue of payment of bonuses in those sections of the company where customer satisfaction measures are likely to be affected by the series of outages that have occurred last year.
As reported in the last E-bulletin, CEO Andy Penn has suggested that staff in these areas might have to pay a price, in the form of lost bonuses, for problems that are clearly not of their own making.
The CWU considers this position as completely unjust and as a prime example of the fundamental flaws in Telstra’s approach to pay.