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rest breaks

Rest breaks: Telstra digs in

Telstra is continuing to maintain its current position on rest breaks for employees working in Directory Assistance centres despite the CWU having notified the Fair Work Commission of a dispute in this area.

On Friday 15 May, the CWU and Telstra attended a conference called by Fair Work Commission to consider the CWU’s claim that Telstra had not properly consulted employees over the changes. These reduce scheduled rest break time in these centres by about two thirds.

The CWU argued that Telstra has not responded adequately to calls from employees for an independent risk assessment to be carried out before the new arrangements were introduced.

At the conference before Commissioner Gregory, the CWU said that it was already receiving reports from members about the increased stress being caused by the reduction in breaks. The union has also been told that some employees have been required to use at least one break for administrative tasks.

For its part, Telstra says that it has complied with all its consultation obligations under the Enterprise Agreement and has arrangements in place in the centres to mitigate any health and safety risk. It has rejected the CWU proposal for an independent risk assessment

The CWU will now seek further evidence from its members and other Telstra employees about how the new arrangements are affecting them and will consult with them about the next steps in this dispute.

We have also put the issue on the agenda for the current EA negotiations.

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