Striking Optus workers reject proposal

Striking Optus workers reject proposal

Summary: Striking sub-contractors working for Optus contractors BSA and Stream Communications today rejected a proposal to come back to work.

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Striking sub-contractors working for Optus contractors BSA and Stream Communications today rejected a proposal to come back to work.

Last Wednesday, Stream Communications received a list of claims from sub-contractors which focused on rate and procedural issues, according to Stream managing director Don Muirhead, who spoke to ZDNet.com.au this afternoon about the issue.

The executive said that the company acknowledged and looked at the list on Thursday, but the majority of its sub-contractors went on strike on Friday, refusing to carry out any installations or maintenance they would normally do for Optus customers.

No one has a bag of gold here.

Stream MD Don Muirhead

This morning, as far as Muirhead knew — he wasn't at the meeting where negotiations took place — a forum of contractors working for both BSA and Stream Communications rejected a proposal to come back to work. The strike was based in NSW, he said, but added that it made no sense for the other states to strike because they were already watching the issue with interest, and any deal which was struck would be national.

"We're trying to get our contractors to get back to work with the commitment that we'll talk to suppliers and our client about the issues that were raised," Muirhead said. Stream was meeting daily with representatives from the contractors to quash rumours through good communications and to work through the list of claims to find a blend which fitted, he said.

However, finding the right solution would take time, while Optus' customers were getting frustrated and no money was flowing into anyone's coffers, according to Muirhead.

"I think it's in their best interest to come back to work," he said. "It's not helping anybody that these guys aren't getting any revenue coming up to Christmas ... No one has a bag of gold here."

Stream Communications and BSA were required under contract to provide services to Optus, according to Muirhead, and if the companies could not do that, Optus would find others who would. "It's been the history of the industry that if any group withdraws services, others are asked to come in," he said.

He asked contractors to come back to work so that a satisfactory answer could be found. "The point has been made," he said. "Give us some time."

Topics: Telcos, Optus, IT Employment

Suzanne Tindal

About Suzanne Tindal

Suzanne Tindal cut her teeth at ZDNet.com.au as the site's telecommunications reporter, a role that saw her break some of the biggest stories associated with the National Broadband Network process. She then turned her attention to all matters in government and corporate ICT circles. Now she's taking on the whole gamut as news editor for the site.

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12 comments
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  • The bottom line

    "Stream Communications and BSA were required under contract to provide services to Optus, according to Muirhead, and if the companies could not do that, Optus would find others who would."

    And that is the bottom line, Optus pay these sub-contracting companies for the jobs not directly to the techs doing the work. If the techs doing the work won't do it then Optus simply negotiate with another sub-contracting company has techs that will.
    anonymous
  • telstra take note...

    At least optus has at this point listened to the striking workers, we hear your concerns, give us some time and we'll see what we can bang out with the suppliers and such...

    telstra hasnt even acknowledged its striking workers, let alone asked why they feel it neccasary to strike, I think Sydney said something that i liked "A workers last resort when all else fails is the withdrawal of their labour"...perhaps if telstra took an interest in what its employees would like to see occur round the work place they wouldnt be striking

    lol, so back on blog topic
    Optus to striking workers "what are your concerns, okay, no promises, but give us some time and we'll see what we can arrange"
    Telstra to striking workers "attention union workers: you are legally entitled to strike... that is all"
    anonymous
  • RE: Bottom line

    There is no other company able to do for these prices. Last time Downer and service stream are rejected the optus prices and there is any other known companies in this industry.Also the 100% of techs on strike and they will demand for better rates from other companies. Downwer got there own problem to deal with,foxtel contractors also going aginst downer.
    anonymous
  • OPTUS doent listend

    Optus dont care of there custormers and technician. some custormers without service for week time and not given any notice about these matters.

    Optus putting the blame on stream and bsa without coming to negotiation table.
    anonymous
  • Read the story.

    Joe I did say as you quote but not only that it is an undeniable fact that really when all else fails the withdrawal of his or her labour is the only defence the employee has. If this right was taken away from the worker they would be defenceless at the mercy of employers and in reality "defenseless slaves". Having said that sensible fairness must be maintained by all concerned in remuneration negotiations.
    anonymous
  • Short and curlies

    BSA have the Optus contract because the prices they charge for their services is soo low that no one could pssibly compete with them. Added to the fact that Optus has culled soo many of their own technical staff over the years that they could not possibly carry out the work internally. Reap what you sow Singtel!
    anonymous
  • Read the story

    Agree with you on the sensible fairness. At the end of the day low pay, is better than no pay. I would like to know what they are being paid, to see how it measures up to what out of work people would be happy or expect to be paid !!!
    anonymous
  • Short and curlies

    BSA are giving exactly the type of service that way too low fees afford. So why bitch, when it's not enough.
    anonymous
  • Striking Optus workers reject proposal

    Sydney Mike,
    "At the end of the day low pay, is better than no pay."

    Not if, at the end of the day, the net payment is less than you get on unemployment benefits.
    anonymous
  • Striking Optus workers reject proposal

    The old adage, "you get what you pay for" apples when it comes to wages as well as commodities.

    If the companies concerned lose the contract, the net result will be that Optus will require another (higher bidding) contractor.
    Since they will need to source the extra subcontractors from somewhere, the net result is likely to be that a large number of the striking workers would be hired by the new service provider, and paid a comensurately larger remuneration.
    anonymous
  • Striking Optus workers reject proposal

    "Not if, at the end of the day, the net payment is less than you get on unemployment benefits."

    Well I must agree you on that comment. ! But I cannot see how workers can be paid highly, if the service offered is at too low a price, and from what I read, too many people are expecting too much, for too little. Stands to reason, surely ?
    anonymous
  • Short and curlies

    Best ask that idiot Joe, who reckons he works (or should I say gets paid to, but probably doesn't) for Telstra.
    anonymous