From time to time the CWU is contacted by individual members asking whether –or why – the union has “approved” their being made redundant.
The answer is that the CWU never “approves” any individual redundancies, either in principal or in practice.
The union is aware, of course, that in some cases it suits members to take a redundancy package. But where an individual is being made involuntarily redundant, the CWU relies on that member contacting the union before we can take any action on his or her behalf.
This is because the CWU does not receive any notifications from Telstra that identify individual employees facing redundancy.
Under the Enterprise Agreement (EA), Telstra has to consult the CWU about any major changes to its operations, such as the 1,100 redundancies announced last year.
This usually triggers national level discussions which may result in some changes to Telstra’s proposals, as they did in that case. But the names of individuals who may be affected by the proposals are not made available.
Then, if redundancies do proceed, the CWU is notified of specific redundancies in line with the Redundancy provisions of the EA (formerly the Redundancy Agreement).
Again though it is positions that are notified, not the individuals – and not, of course, whether the people in question are union members or not.
That is why the union relies on its members to tell us whether they are individually affected. It is only then that we can take up any particular issue such as lack of redeployment opportunity, suspected victimisation, blocking of swaps and so on.
Always contact your state branch if you receive notice of redundancy.