ISGM sub-contractors in Victoria have held a number of meetings in response to Telstra’s introduction of an automated dispatch system for field work.
ISGM is now the sole contractor to Telstra for installation and maintenance and, along with Telstra’s internal workforce, its subbies are in the direct firing line when it comes to changes in field work organisation.
ISGM subbies have made it clear they believe that the new system is damaging their businesses and causing significant increases to their costs. In motions adopted at the meetings they also pointed out that they had not been properly consulted about the changes, either by Telstra or by ISGM.
It is foolish of ISGM to alienate its workforce which is made up of “independent” contractors – at least in theory – who do not have to take every job assigned to them. If any of them find themselves unable to take up work during any one day – as occurred after these meetings – that is their business decision.
And it is also foolish of Telstra to pretend this is not their problem. Having decided to use only one prime contractor for this work, Telstra is also vulnerable if that contractor’s workforce becomes disaffected.
It is in the interests of all parties that both ISGM subbies and Telstra employees get a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work. It can’t be too hard for Telstra and ISGM to sit down with the CWU and its members to see how this can be achieved.