Telstra union debates industrial action

Telstra's main union has raised the spectre of further industrial action in response to its concern that progress in negotiating a new enterprise agreement with the telco.

Telstra's main union has raised the spectre of further industrial action in response to its concern that progress in negotiating a new enterprise agreement with the telco.

In a newsletter distributed to union members last week, the Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union (CEPU) said it had taken a resolution that state branches would begin contacting members to get their views on the way forward, "including the possibility of renewing the union's industrial action campaign".

At issue are three areas that Telstra and the union have not been able to read agreement on. The first is the size of the potential wage rise, including back pay. Telstra has offered around 10,000 unionised staff a 9 per cent rise over three years. But union representatives want a 15 per cent rise.

Secondly, the union has claimed Telstra wants to put employees on different pay arrangements than those that currently apply to stuff under an enterprise agreement. "Those arrangements would be based on classification structures that have not been negotiated with the union," the CEPU's newsletter states.

In addition, the issue of whether employees would be able to use the full powers of the national workplace relations tribunal Fair Work Australia has not been decided. Telstra has not yet responded to a request for comment on the issue.

In the newsletter, the CEPU also gave an update on the status of other negotiations; it is currently in talks with local groups Silcar Telepower, Broadcast Australia and Kordia.

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