update Telstra's strike will start this weekend, with unionised workers refusing to work overtime, recalls and call backs.
The action will start at 12:01am on Saturday 13 December 2008 and will finish at 11:59pm on Sunday across the country.
According to the Communications Electrical and Plumbing Union, the weekend's bans are the first time in a decade Telstra workers have taken industrial action against the company.
Ed Husic, the national president of the communications division of the Communications Electrical and Plumbing union said that the move to strike had been made so quickly because Telstra had shown no interest in negotiations.
"What needs to be taken into account from our perspective is that we have tried to approach Telstra on numerous occasions before the ballot even began," he said. Before the ballot closed, the union had received correspondence from the company which gave no indication that it was willing to discuss the matter with the unions.
When asked about the impact of the strike, Husic said that the campaign had been strategically planned to give the company, and not its customers, headaches.
"This campaign will be like no other. It won't be your garden variety industrial campaign," he said.
Husic said Telstra would say that the workers refusing to work overtime would have no effect, but he believed the action would mean that a lot of projects that relied on overtime to get across the line would run into problems.
He also said that since the decision to ban overtime, Telstra had actually started offering employees overtime work.
Husic would not be more specific on what was planned, saying that although the union had followed the letter of the law by giving Telstra 72 hours notice of the strike, the union wanted to keep the company in the dark about which area the action would strike.
When asked if this was a form of guerrilla warfare, he said "that's the way it's been described".
The Community and Public Sector Union, whose members also voted to strike, will be holding industrial action too, but it has to be separate to that of the CEPU. As yet, they have not announced details as to when and what they have planned, although Paul Girdler, national organiser at the union told ZDNet.com.au that he thought it was "pretty safe to assume that there'll be industrial action next week at Telstra".
Telstra would give no further comment to what it had already said when the strike vote results became public.
The move followed the completion of a vote amongst Telstra's union members on whether to consider industrial action or not. Over 90 per cent of the respondents chose to strike.