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Telstra EA negotiations

Telstra EA: still no full agreement

The process of bargaining for a new Enterprise Agreement in Telstra continues, but without complete agreement having been reached between Telstra and the Telstra unions.

The unions have now all surveyed their members on the proposed agreement. On the basis of their membership responses, all three unions – the CWU, CPSU and Professionals Australia – have advised Telstra that they could not recommend the agreement in its current form.

For CWU members, the main sticking points are:

  • Changes to redundancy processes that remove the employee’s right to choose to take a package rather than be redeployed;
  • Changes to emergency duty;
  • Phase out of Workstream employment arrangements by closing off the Workstream model to all new employees.

At the meeting of Tuesday 25 August, Telstra advised the unions that it would undertake its own survey of employee opinion on the EA.

Telstra tests the water

The Telstra survey is essentially designed to see how important the issue of compulsory redeployment is to its employees.  Because all employees, not just union members, vote on the EA, Telstra wants to see to what extent the concerns raised by the CWU are shared by others.

In the survey, employees were offered the options of a 3% payrise in return for accepting the new redundancy clause or a 2.5% payrise with no change to current processes.

Other than that, both options were the same. Both contained the emergency duty and Workstream clauses that CWU members have said were not acceptable to them. On that basis, the CWU would expect that its members would not support either proposal.

Telstra will advise the unions of the results of its survey next Monday 31 August. It will then decide which version – if any – it puts out to employees for a formal vote.

Members should be aware that under current laws, the employer can proceed to put an EA out for a vote even if no agreement has been reached with the unions during bargaining.  

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