The CWU is preparing to lodge a dispute with the Fair Work Commission over what it believes is the incorrect grading and payment for Communication Technicians (CTs) performing complex digital work.
For some years now there has been an increasing need for CTs to perform a range of functions over and above the traditional PSTN installation and maintenance work of the analogue era.
The proliferation of digital products for both domestic and business customers (Smart Home/Office) has opened up new business opportunities for carriers like Telstra while at the same time requiring new skill mixes for their employees.
CTs working in this environment will now typically be required to install and test multiple services on a premises (including the equipment that supports them) and to ensure those services work as an integrated product suite – while at the same time minimising service disruption.
This in the CWU’s view is complex work and should be graded at at least CFW5 level, not CFW4 as is now typically the case.
Needless to say, Telstra is resisting upgrades and is also refusing to pay higher duties, arguing that the amount of complex work performed by the CFW4s is not enough to warrant the extra payment.
Indeed, in the CWU’s view, Telstra’s move to reintegrate what were formerly special digital hybrid work teams back into the traditional Installation and Maintenance workforce has been part of a deliberate strategy to deny any wage claims based on the more complex work those teams were performing.
The CWU has been pursuing this issue for some time but without getting any movement from Telstra. The Commission will now consider the issue.