Telstra's submission of what appeared to be a non-compliant National Broadband Network bid put the jobs of its workers at risk, the Australian Council of Trade Unions said today.
"While we are pleased to see that Telstra has heeded the warnings of the ACTU and others about the risks inherent in not bidding for the project, the conditions attached to the bid will prolong the fear and uncertainty for its workforce about their future job security," ACTU assistant secretary Tim Lyons said in a statement.
"This game of chicken with the Government has been unhelpful to all, and has been harmful to workers."
The union group drew a link between Telstra's last-minute decision to bid for the NBN work and the ongoing battle the telco has been fighting with the ACTU and others.
"It would be good to see a similar reversal in the company's stance on industrial relations, and for senior management to renew negotiations with unions for a new enterprise agreement," said Lyons.
He added that "no sensible company" bidded for a national infrastructure project without having industrial relations arrangements in place. "We hope that Telstra will take this opportunity to respect their employees' wish for a union-negotiated agreement."
In contrast with Telstra, the rival Terria broadband consortium has a deal with unions which would see a collective agreement negotiated in the event of Terria winning the Federal Government's $4.7 billion broadband contract.