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Misleading EBA statements threaten Telstra bargaining

Members may have recently received an EBA update originating from the CWU NSW T&S Branch making a number of statements in relation to the recommencement of bargaining with Telstra.

The claims being made by the current T&S Branch Secretary, Dan Dwyer, are without foundation by an Official who has not been present in bargaining meetings and is not a member of the Union’s internal steering committee on Telstra bargaining.

A similar bulletin is also being reportedly distributed by the Victorian T&S Branch, today.

What is extraordinary is that Mr Dwyer made these outlandish claims following his attendance at a telephone hook-up hosted by John Ellery of the Victorian T&S Branch on the evening of 7 May 2019 following the negotiations that day with Telstra.

Mr Ellery was present at those negotiations. Mr Ellery would have told Mr Dwyer that the offer put to Telstra was made with the authority of your Union’s internal steering committee and the combined Unions Single Bargaining Unit (SBU), and that he had supported the making of the offer during the bargaining meeting.

Bargaining is governed by complex workplace laws which ensure that bargaining between workers and their employers proceed in ‘good faith’. Public statements which misrepresent bargaining matters such as the meeting which took place last week, the SBU’s revised pay proposal and Telstra’s own bargaining position have the ability to severely undermine the efforts of our Union, along with the CPSU and Professionals Australia (the other two Unions who make up the SBU), to resolve the current impasse in bargaining and progress discussions to actually reaching agreement on a new EBA.

Concerningly, Telstra yesterday wrote to your National Divisional Office, reserving their rights in relation to good faith bargaining, due to their own held views that the statements are unfounded, false and misleading. A copy of this letter can be viewed by clicking here.

Your Divisional Secretary and President have responded to Telstra today, ensuring all the progress we have made, off the back of our members’ determination to win, to get back to the negotiating table are not eroded as a result of what is clearly a stunt by Mr Dwyer and his cohorts. Click here to view a copy of this letter.

Statements contained in both bulletins are made without regard for the possible impacts on ensuring all three Unions who make-up the SBU abide by the workplace laws governing our bargaining process and at the potential expense of actually delivering an EBA outcome that members and their families have lost income, through industrial action, fighting for.

In the current industrial climate, particularly while Telstra is embarking on one of the biggest job purges in modern corporate history, your Union will not allow Mr Dwyer and his Victorian cohorts to use internal Union politics to interfere with securing the EBA you and your families are relying on us to deliver.

Telstra is not unique, workers across the country are hurting with wages at an all-time low and conditions being eroded. The rules that are supposed to protect our rights at work are broken and are allowing employers to run rough-shot over workers.

While workers across the country are uniting to change those rules, Unions cannot become fractured and dysfunctional with Officials focussing on themselves, rather than the outcomes our members deserve and expect from us.

We will not allow those who were responsible for the 40-week redundancy debacle in the Telstra Modern Award, to jeopardise bargaining for your new Telstra EBA.

The unsubstantiated claims made by Mr Dwyer and his Victorian cohorts using their Branch resources only make your Divisional Officials more determined to ensure we secure the very best outcome possible for our Telstra members, and their families.

And we will, because we are focussed on you, not on playing political games with members' livelihoods.

Yours faithfully,

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