Visionstream Telecommunications has notified the CWU and employees that it intends to make deep cuts to staff numbers, despite having its major contract with Telstra renewed for 5 years. As much as 40% of the workforce could be shed.
Visionstream Telecommunications incorporates the former SilcarTelepower operations and despite some diversification, its business remains centred on its contract with Telstra for battery maintenance and other facilities management functions.
As a result it is particularly vulnerable to peaks and troughs in the flow of work from Telstra and to the latter’s decisions about the extent to which it will invest in proactive maintenance.
The CWU understands that there has been a decrease in the amount of proactive works expected under the new contract.
During recent EA negotiations, considerable time was spent in trying to address these workflow issues in order to minimise the threat of redundancy to employees. The CWU is disappointed that, despite ongoing negotiations, Visionstream has now moved to make such sweeping cuts.
We also question whether the company will be able to meet its contractual obligations, given the skill drain that such cuts will inevitably involve.
The announcement has cast a shadow over the current Enterprise Agreement (EA) negotiations which have just recommenced, following the rejection of a proposed agreement last month.
While these negotiations can and will continue it is expected that voting on a new agreement will not take place until the redundancies have been finalised. Visionstream says that it wants this process to be complete by the end of the financial year.
In the meantime, the CWU has called on Visionstream to make voluntary redundancy its first option. The union has also asked for assurances that work is not simply being outsourced to contractors.