There have now been six meetings of the negotiators for a new Enterprise Agreement (EA) in Telstra and two meetings of the working party looking at Job Descriptions (JDs).
So far the meetings have been largely taken up with Telstra, the unions and individual bargaining representatives outlining their claims and establishing their priorities for bargaining.
Early in the process, the CWU and other unions asked Telstra to clarify its position on EA redundancy payout entitlements because of the misinformation being circulated among members about this issue.
As has been previously reported, Telstra confirmed it was not seeking any change in this area.
But in the main matters which are actually up for negotiation discussions are still at an early stage and no agreements have been reached.
It is becoming increasingly clear, however, that for Telstra arrangements, particularly Job Descriptions, in the field workforce (CFW) and, to a lesser extent, the technical workforce (TW) are central to this round of negotiations. This largely reflects the new work opportunities that are opening up for Telstra in NBN-related areas, particularly in construction but also in ongoing installation and maintenance functions.
Telstra insists that it is not wanting to “broadband” CFW and TW roles along the lines of the Job Family model or to change pay structures. However it wants to simplify JDs across each current band where possible.
The CWU supports Telstra’s moving into areas of work that provide job opportunities for its members. But it will be carefully scrutinising any proposals relating to such moves to ensure they don’t adversely affect members’ wages and conditions.