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MEDIA RELEASE - NBN Co Chief's $3.1 million salary a 'national disgrace' - union

The union representing NBN Co workers says that news of the NBN Co Chief's $3.1 million salary is a national disgrace, after axing hundreds of jobs in the middle of a pandemic and overseeing a shonky NBN network rollout.

CEPU Communications Union National Assistant Secretary James Perkins said "It's absolutely outrageous that NBN boss Stephen Rue is pocketing $3.1 million of taxpayer funds only to slash 800 jobs.

"It's frankly unbelievable that Mr Rue can justify giving himself a $1.2 million bonus in the last financial year, only to then leave hundreds of Aussie workers without a job in the middle of a pandemic and a national unemployment crisis.

"While other top business chief's in Australia have taken pay cuts - Mr Rue somehow decided to give himself a $1.2 million bonusin the last financial year.  It's a national disgrace."

The announcement to axe 800 jobs was made in July - with many of those job losses to impact on essential network design and construction jobs.

"We need the Federal Government to intervene and get the NBN right.  The latest budget is supposedly all about jobs - so why are they not intervening to protect these vital jobs from the chopping block?

"Instead of throwing money into a Mr Rue's exorbitant pay packet or even into the NBN's currently broken system - the reality is that we need to invest this money into an effective employment model.   What we have at the moment is a Government endorsed pyramid scheme."

The NBN contracts work to their 'delivery partners' who then sub-contract that work to their 'principle contractors' who then either subcontract it again, or hire low paid, under skilled workers to complete a job they haven't been properly trained to perform.

"It's not the workers' fault that they're not being offered the training, pay or hours sufficient to get the job done.  Nor is it the customer's fault for being furious about delayed, failed and shonky installations.

"At each stage of the way, the 'delivery partners' get to wipe their hands clean of the mess they've made for customers, all the while pocketing cash and looking the other way.  It's a system that is clearly failing customers, it's failing workers and it's failing taxpayers.

"The only winners are these middlemen who sit back and rake in the profit with no accountability for the mess they create.

"We're urging the Government to throw the current pyramid model in the bin and replace it with a direct employment model like we see at Telstra."

Media contact:  Amelia Brock, 0430 187 161


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