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Wideband redundancies: CWU secures jobs for members

The CWU has been successful in ensuring that a number of members facing retrenchment as a result of the recent Enterprise Services reorganisation have been successful in finding roles in the new structure. 

As reported in E-bulletin #10, that reorganisation involved a spill-and-fill exercise that finally resulted in some 90 employees being selected for retrenchment despite only 55 roles having been notified as being redundant.  At the end of the selection process, roles were actually left vacant and were subsequently advertised both inside and outside the company. 

There are many questions to be asked about this exercise and the CWU was prepared to explore these in the Fair Work Commission (FWC). We notified a dispute on Thursday 22 June. 

Our immediate objective though was always to help those members who wanted to continue working in this area to secure a job, whether or not they had applied for it during the spill-and-fill. 

We were able to achieve this without the assistance of FWC for all but one of those members we were aware of as being in this situation, other than a number whose jobs were declared redundant as a result of centralisation. 

In the longer term, the CWU and other Telstra unions will be ensuring that there is no repeat of a process that led to almost twice as many employees being retrenched as there were roles redundant. 

It is rare for Telstra not to be able to find sufficient volunteers when redundancies are proposed. That is no surprise, given the age profile of the workforce, the significant redundancy payout available and the deterioration of the work environment experienced by many employees.  There would probably be a flood of volunteers if the gates were fully opened to anyone who wanted to leave. 

But those would not be genuine redundancies. 

It is roles, not people, which become redundant. The redundancy provisions of the Enterprise Agreement are not designed to allow Telstra to “select” more people for retrenchment than there are positions redundant i.e. to purge and “refresh” its workforce under the guise of functional redundancy.

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