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TPG Telecom

TPG: improvements secured, but EA still too far off the mark

Your Union, the CEPU/CWU, has been engaged in negotiations for a new Enterprise Agreement (EA) for TPG Telecom’s retail, call centre and logistics workers, since late last year. Since the last time we wrote to you, we have won significant improvements to TPG’s earlier offers and the company now intends to formally offer the Agreement to employees. Despite the improvements, the Union cannot endorse the proposed EA.

Where we were

The last time we wrote to you, TPG were offering just a 2% guaranteed annual wage increase, for three years. Furthermore, only the minimum wage rates in the EA would receive the increase. This meant the majority of employees would see no pay increase, at all. Adding further salt to the wound, TPG proposed to pay between little and no penalty rates to permanent day-shift employees.

What Union-won improvements have been secured?

Following further negotiations, the wage rise will now be 10% over a three-year period for most employees. This will be paid as 4% in year-one guaranteed for all and 3% each year in years two and three, for those earning under particular wage thresholds. Actual wages would increase by this amount, rather than just the minimum rates applicable in the Agreement. Penalty rates will also be payable at the rate of 10% per hour on Saturdays and 35% per hour on Sundays.

Why we can’t endorse this Agreement

The improvements won are significant, but we started from two very low, below-market offers. Although the improvements mean employees who would not have received a wage rise, now will, the wage rise still results in an overall cut to pay, in real terms.

With the rate of inflation currently running at 6.1%, a 4% wage increase in year one puts you and your family 2% behind being able to keep up with the cost of living. It gets worse in year two and three. TPG has insisted on maintaining a wages threshold in order to become eligible for guaranteed wages in 2024 and 2025. For example, if a Level 1 employee’s gross annual earnings for 2023, including gross commissions and bonuses, equals or exceeds $78,000, they will not receive a guaranteed pay rise in 2024. Similar thresholds apply across all classification levels.

Lastly, TPG are not playing fair on penalty rates. Members working after 6pm Monday to Friday or at any time on a Saturday deserve at least a 25% penalty rate. 50% should be payable for Sundays. TPG is not just trying to shift the goal posts on an industry standard, but a whole-of-market standard of what workers should expect to be paid when working unsociable hours. Essentially – the more work you undertake in unsociable hours, the more your base-rate of pay shrinks. This is completely inconsistent with the purpose of penalty rates.

Employees will vote on the proposal, commencing 2 November

TPG has decided to formally offer the Agreement to employees via a ballot. You will have the opportunity to review the contents of the proposal from 24 October and the vote will open 2 November, running until 5:30pm on 7 November.

Should the majority of employees vote yes to accept the proposal, the Agreement will then be forwarded to the Fair Work Commission for approval before coming into force and the Union will commence working to ensure TPG honours their commitments.

Should employees vote no and reject the proposed Agreement, the Union is committed to continue bargaining with members to pursue a better deal.

Either way, now is the time to join your Union. TPG workers and their families deserve better.  Whether we return to the bargaining table sooner, or later, the only way to secure the outcomes that workers deserve is by building strength as a Union, together.

If you are not yet a member, join now by scanning the QR code.

Scan to join and build strength in your workplace

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