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Update #12: We're still talking, but Telstra's arrogance continues

Since members across the country overwhelmingly rejected Telstra’s penny-pinching pay offer, your Union has continued to meet with the company in good faith in an effort to reach Agreement.

The most interesting take away from the last few meetings has been Telstra’s most senior representatives scratching their heads about why so many employees voted no.

And it isn’t ignorance – it’s pure arrogance. And in true Telstra arrogance, they are digging in on their disgraceful pay offer.

Telstra’s line, which they believe to be quite reasonable, has been; “trust us, work with us, bear with us – this is a rough patch and we can reward employees in 2021 when we come back to negotiate a new Agreement”.

After announcing the sacking of 8000 of your co-workers, a pay cut in real terms and their watering down of your entitlement to a redundancy payment, this narrative isn’t just a joke – it’s insulting.

They are completely out of touch. Workers are hurting now – they’re facing increasing power prices now, increasing fuel prices now, increasing grocery prices now and increasing rent and mortgages now. Andy Penn and his millionaire club of executives may be able to stretch their finances and wait until 2021, but workers cannot – their families are hurting, now.

In pure Telstra arrogance, from 1 October their insulting 1.5% wage increase for Workstream employees and 1.5% pay pool for distribution to Job Family employees became effective – despite members so overwhelmingly rejecting the offer. The annual bonus for the 2018/2019 financial year, however, is currently the carrot they’re using against employees, threatening that without an Agreement, there is no obligation for it to be paid.

The irony of this is, as part of Telstra’s penny-pinching pay offer, they removed the obligation to pay any annual bonuses from June 2019 onwards.

Telstra have even toyed with the idea of a two-year agreement – we say that in and of itself, the length of the Agreement is not pivotal if the content of the offer, including the pay rise itself, is not improved. Discussions continue around remuneration with your Union demanding a pay rise which helps members meet the ever-increasing cost of living demand.

In terms of Telstra’s controversial Clause 45 proposal, the Union is maintaining that it must go completely. No rewrites, no explanations – just gone. Telstra’s verbatim continues on the way, they say, they intend to use this clause. We say; they wouldn’t be seeking it if they didn’t want to use it and we are not convinced that Telstra won’t use the clause to rob our members of their redundancy benefits.

Talks are scheduled to recommence next week and we will keep members up to date with further developments.

Yours faithfully,
Nicole Robinson

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