The negotiations for a new Enterprise Agreement in Telstra are continuing regularly, with the negotiating teams (and individual bargaining representatives) meeting each Tuesday to consider each other’s claims.
We are now at the stage where no new major claims are expected from either side – except of course for the pay claim which will only be discussed when the overall areas of agreement and disagreement become clearer.
As reported in our Bargaining Bulletins, the only issues are being discussed in any close detail at present are changes to shift arrangements (extended shifts) and, in a separate working party, streamlining of Workstream Job Descriptions (JDs) across particular bands.
Telstra’s proposed changes to shift provisions would allow it to introduce shifts of varying lengths beyond the current 10 hour span up to and including the current 12 hour shifts. Discussions have focussed on the conditions and protections that would apply if these arrangements were agreed to in negotiations.
The unions’ “bottom line” position here is that performance of such extended shifts should be voluntary, just as movement from ordinary hours to shift work is voluntary under the current EA. This has been agreed to by Telstra. Further details as to how such shifts should be regulated are still under discussion.
The work on JDs has focussed initially on the TW classification, where both parties agree there is scope for some rationalisation across – but not between – banding levels. The group is looking, for instance, at JDs that were developed for roles that no longer exist, such as some in the Research Labs.
The group has yet to determine to what extent a simplification of CFW job descriptions will be possible. Members should be clear, though, that this exercise if not designed to bring about a broadbanding such as exists in the Job Family. The CWU will not support any proposal that has the effect of downgrading current Workstream skill level requirements and related pay scales.