The CWU and other Telstra unions have been continuing to try to reach agreement with Telstra on the content of a new modern enterprise award for the company’s employees.
E-bulletin readers will recall that Telstra initially sought to have all your current awards cancelled and replaced by the inferior modern industry award, the Telecommunications Services Award.
The CWU successfully opposed this attempt, with members’ opposition to the move playing a significant part in the Fair Work Commission’s decision.
That was over 2 years ago! Since then we have been involved in the complicated process of combining and streamlining the 11 current Telstra awards into one modern award which we hope to have approved by the Commission.
For the last few months, the Commission has been assisting in the process through a number of conciliation hearings before Commissioner Lewin.
The Commissioner’s role has been to provide general guidance on the possible approach the Full Bench might take when it hears the final applications of Telstra and the unions in the matter.
That final hearing is not likely to be until next year. At this stage, however, the CWU is confident of a positive outcome in what it considers to be key areas of the new award e.g. hours of work, overtime and penalty rates, leave entitlements and redundancy provisions.
A more detailed report will be available to members when negotiations have been finalised.
Throughout these negotiations, the CWU has taken the view that approval of the award by the FWC would be more likely if an agreed position could be reached with Telstra. This is one of the reasons for the process taking so long.
In the end, though, it will still be up to the Commission as to whether to approve the new award.