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CWU secures key Telstra award conditions

The CWU continues to be successful in protecting core award entitlements for Telstra employees.

In January, the Fair Work Commission Full Bench issued its decision to make a new modern enterprise award in Telstra and the order to make the award was made on Monday 9 February.

Although under the current system it is the Commission itself that decides on the content of the award, not Telstra or the union, the terms of the new award generally reflect those agreed between Telstra and its unions.

Key features of the new award are:

  • Retention of the 36 ¾ hour week;
  • Retention of overtime rates, plus removal of the provision for employees to work ordinary hours on a Saturday morning (i.e. all Saturday work, other than shift work, attracts overtime payments);
  • Retention of on-call and emergency duty provisions;
  • Retention of those allowances which are still current in Telstra;
  • Retention of the 15 days per year (cumulative) personal leave entitlement;
  • A new award (as opposed to agreement) redundancy entitlement of up to 40 weeks’ pay.

Agreement on the content of the award was reached after nearly two years of negotiations and several months of conciliation by the Fair Work Commission.

Because no modern enterprise award had been made before this one, we asked the FWC to give some broad guidance on the approach the Full Bench was likely to take. The CWU was particularly concerned about how the Commission would view conditions that dated from Telstra’s past life as a public sector monopoly, such as the 36 ¾ hour week and the 15 days personal leave.

The message we took away from the Commission was that the best way of protecting these conditions was to reach agreement with Telstra on an agreed across the board “package” that could be presented to the Full Bench.  It was this message that guided the CWU’s and other Telstra unions’ approach to the discussions.

The FWC has still not actually made the order for the new award to come into effect because of some minor technical amendments to it that were required. A more detailed report will be made available to members when the FWC order is issued.

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