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UPDATE #13: Something’s gotta give. The bargaining merry-go-round continues

Bargaining has continued with Telstra refusing to improve their offer of a measly 1.5% wage rise for Workstream and an equivalent pay pool for Job Family - a pay cut in real terms for both workgroups.

In order to break the merry-go-round impasse bargaining had become, the combined Unions Single Bargaining Unit (SBU) put our own offer to Telstra in the interests of bargaining continuing in good faith. Without any of the Unions having an opportunity to consult directly with their members, the offer was made without prejudice, meaning we reserved our rights to alter our position following consultation with members.

The SBU proposal consists of a 3-year deal with 3% annual wage increases for Workstream and equivalent pay pool for Job Family with the increased wages funded by moderating bonuses and incentive pay

We believe quite strongly that guaranteed pay trumps discretionary pay – quite frankly, because of Telstra’s own rules on variable remuneration: “Variable remuneration is determined in accordance with rules set by Telstra from time to time and is at Telstra’s discretion”

In simple terms, our translation: “Your variable pay is up to us, and only us, and we can say one thing and do another whenever we feel like it, for whatever reason we feel like.”

It is important to note that much of the bonus and incentive pay outcomes are linked to factors outside your control. Remember, Telstra has refused to give Job Family employees a minimum wage increase, despite our attempts to secure one. Telstra want to be able to pay you nothing – Yes, 0% wage rises are actually part of their model for Job Family employees.

Therefore, in our view, if we can increase the overall guaranteed pay pool, we can increase the potential for Job Family employees to actually receive a fair pay rise.

No performance bonus was paid to Workstream employees for the 2017-18 financial year.

Telstra say it’s because you voted no to their penny-pinching dud deal. The reality is; Telstra CHOSE not to pay this, and there was no Agreement to FORCE them to pay it.

Telstra cannot be trusted with discretionary payments and if we can secure and guarantee that a greater amount of funds are dedicated to actual wages, this at least ensures it’s in your pockets.

Putting the most recent talks aside, Telstra have rejected all of our proposals for:

  • A minimum guaranteed pay increase for ALL employees
  • A wage rise that meets CPI
  • Options for Job Family employees to become Workstream employees
  • Your 4 weeks’ notice of redundancy paid to you if you leave before or during the placement period.
  • Actual, realistic rates of pay for Job Family employees in the EA.

Further, the CEPU have made an application to the Fair Work Commission for a Protected action ballot order. If approved, you will be able to have your say on whether you wish to engage in legal industrial action to advance your claims for a new, fair EA at Telstra. This has also prompted Telstra to spitefully cancel upcoming bargaining meetings.

We are seeking your views on these matters. Your feedback is critical to ensuring we continue to represent the issues that matter most to you and your family.

Please contact your relevant State Branch Official.

In the meantime, we will keep you informed on Telstra’s response to our proposal and the next steps in our application for the protected action ballot.


Yours faithfully,
Greg Rayner,

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