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CWU queries Telstra on new NBN plans

The CWU has met with Telstra to seek clarification of its announcement that it may hand over a part or all of its fixed networks to NBN Co.

The CWU has received a number of queries from members about the implications of such a move for Telstra employees.

Telstra stressed that, despite the announcement, no definitive new agreements had been reached between the parties. For that reason alone, there will be no immediate impact on the Telstra workforce.

It pointed out that, in the longer term, the impacts will depend in part on who undertakes the maintenance work on those Telstra assets that become part of the NBN.

Telstra says in its Annual Report that it is negotiating a commercial contract for NBN network “design, construction and maintenance.” It may not get such work, but clearly it’s interested in doing it. That would potentially mean more ongoing work for CWU members than was available under the previous NBN arrangements.

When the commonwealth-funded $100 million retraining programme was set up, Telstra told the government that over 6,000 employees would be eligible for the training. In other words over 6,000 jobs were under threat from the original NBN project.

The mixed technology roll-out, combined with an enlarged role for Telstra in NBN design, construction and maintenance, may not entirely remove that threat but it should lessen it.

Meanwhile, CWU members working for NBN’s prime contractors or as subbies on the NBN project should note NBN Co CEO, Bill Morrow’s statement that there will continue to be work for the construction companies currently engaged on the roll-out.


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