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Visionstream Telecommunications EA goes to ballot

Voting on the proposed new Visionstream Telecommunications Enterprise Agreement (EA) will be held on Monday 16 May.  Voting will take place on Monday 16 May 2016, between 8am and 7pm Eastern Standard Time (EST) by electronic (SMS) ballot. 

This EA covers employees of the former Silcar Telecommunications, now part of Visionstream. 

Negotiations for the agreement began late last year, with the CWU becoming involved on behalf of its members in late January. Since then there have been regular meetings between Visionstream, the CWU and other bargaining representatives. 

Agreement has been reached on a number of items that employees identified as issues at the beginning of negotiations. We have negotiated improvements to discipline procedures, protections against being forced onto shift work and removal of proposals that could have allowed staff to be demoted during the translation to the new classification structure proposed. 

Proposals for a stand-by roster remain controversial, but negotiators have limited the scope for introduction of such rosters and those on-call will be eligible for significant allowances ($510 a week). 

The agreement also provides further new allowances for performance of higher duties and for work requiring an electricians licence or air conditioning licence. 

But it is the wage rise that is likely to be the real sticking point with many employees. The three year agreement contains wage rises of 2.5% per annum or, in the case if Year 3, CPI – whichever is higher. 

If the cost of living continues to trend downwards, this offer will represent a real (ie above inflation) wage rise, but not by much! If CPI rises, there may be little overall wage gain. 

The CWU considers that the wage offer does not do justice to the value that these employees create for the company. However, members and other employees will now have to decide whether, overall, the agreement will provide acceptable conditions and protections over the next 3 years. 

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