Telstra strike to start Saturday

Telstra strike to start Saturday

Summary: Telstra's strike will start this weekend, with unionised workers refusing to work overtime, recalls and call backs.

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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.

Topics: Telcos, Telstra, 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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Talkback

19 comments
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  • so it begins

    the overtime isnt going to do much, they'll just do extra staff... but no recalls on a saturday night, thats going to screw it up for telstra unless they hire someone else to take them for 1 night...
    anonymous
  • Share the cream.

    Hopefully Telstra will use this strike to be of benefit to the Australian public.

    Telstra should, in the interest of giving those unemployed a job, ban all overtime and increase their employee numbers to cover the work.

    I am sure Telstra workers would agree to fore-go the overtime money and share their work to help fellow Australians get a permanent job.
    anonymous
  • actually...Agreed

    lol, this is kind of eerie... i agree entirely with everything in the above statement, 100%... good comment syd,

    and personally, I'm actually against the union striking on the recalls, they're genuinely pretty important, just strike off on a business day, I'll chuck a barbie in the back of my ute to feed the strikers :) lol
    anonymous
  • @Share the cream.

    "I am sure Telstra workers would agree to fore-go the overtime money and share their work to help fellow Australians get a permanent job."

    They're going to need to hire a lot of workers to replace all those Australians who they've laid off in recent years.
    anonymous
  • Stirke

    I wish my boss would give me a 4% payrise in a year, what is a fair payrise 5%, 6%,10%, I'm lucky to get a christmas hamper and they are stirking over a 4% payrise, sounds like a load of BS to me.
    anonymous
  • 4% - only if everyone would agree.

    Yes, Telstra have offered their employees 4% - however you have to know the details of how it has been offered and to whom.

    They offered it as part of a employee collective agreement. In order to put an 'employee collective agreement' to the vote, they needed expressions of interest in having a vote - of which in some areas of the company there was very little of.

    So there are employees out there that would like the 4% pay rise, but can't vote for it because other workers in their department didn't bother expressing an interest in being able to vote. So if not enough people are interested (for whatever reason) then it's not a 'collective agreement' and hence can not be voted for. So then there's nothing for all - not just the ones that weren't interested. Some would like the 4% pay rise, others would prefer to not change the current terms and conditions of employment at the expense of a very small pay rise.

    Sounds complex - it sure is. End story - the whole thing is a human resources mess.
    anonymous
  • Walk in our shoes!

    If you have never worked in Telstra you could not possibly know what it is like to work there. The company has been destroyed by management morons. Over 90% of workers voted to strike-this was done by secret ballot. The result tells you all you need o know about Telstra and this dispute. Good on the Telstra workers, this is long, long overdue.
    anonymous
  • Who is on strike?

    What people don't know is that only half of the workforce at Telstra is probably union based. The rest are on AWA's or ITEA's where they can be 'required' to work overtime. Although the people who are on the old (now expired) EA could probably get away with not working overtime (there's no mandatory requirement to do so), the poor AWA / ITEA workers will bear the load when they get told to fill in.

    The problem is that Telstra abuses overtime and recall work by using it to cover regular periods of work instead of employing extra staff. It's that simple.

    It highlights the inequality in staff employement arrangements made possible by the Howard government. Workers on AWA's can be forced to work or be sacked - those on old EAs just don't get any pay rise for years.

    Remember it's not just Telstra call centres who have the issue with overtime (many of them run on temp. and contract hire staff), it's also the people who try to fix up things - this overtime thing won't affect much of that as most of those staff are not Telstra staff either. Servicestream, Visionstream, Downer to name a few other resources - read some of the company announcements at the ASX.

    End result - who knows?

    Telstra = Human Resources Train Wreck.

    The only happy ones are managers at high levels who thing everything is dandy because their numbers games and powerpoint slides are looking cool.
    anonymous
  • i see it as,

    cherry picking, telstra's ECA was offered en-masse, to all of telstra, majority voted no, an embarrasing defeat for telstra HR... so now, in light of "this select few who chose not to move foward into the future" telstra requires staff to email there interest, when an area has enough interested that telstra know's it will get a pass, it offers it, to that area, and that area alone, and then promotes widely "hey hey, look call centric perth chose to go foward with an ECA, what a wonderful day for them"

    vote rigging and propaganda have always disgusted me
    anonymous
  • Telstra employees speak out.

    Annika your description of the Telstra problem doesn't sound good. Telstra and employees must move to avoid a situation that will be destructive for all concerned.

    I was serious with my suggestion that Telstra should ban all overtime. Employ more workers at standard weekly hours and help solve the unemployment problem. Overtime is greed and unnecessary.

    If as you suggest there are morons in Management who damage company harmony Telstra must get rid of them. Like wise with employees who wouldn't work in an iron lung.

    If Australia is to retain its high standard of living the old adage of a fair days pay for a fair days work must be returned immediately. Lets hear more from those at the coal face in Telstra.
    anonymous
  • @Share the cream.

    Terry, may I suggest you send that message loud and clear, to all those commentators that write in bagging Telstra, and who are continually barracking for all their competitors.
    anonymous
  • re Bring it on..............

    I worked at Telstra and to be honest there are a LOT of workplaces that are far worse off!!

    As Greg Winn outlined they have the best trained workforce anywhere and are highly skilled & capable!!
    anonymous
  • rofl!

    highly skilled?! in the field or in the call centres, I spend my days picking up after consultants who are gobsmacked and call me a liar when i point out the telephone system involves 2 wires... and that the lines use electricity... I'm dead serious, it really is astonishing

    but agreed, the field techs are usually an intuative clever bunch, rarely have an issue with the tech knowledge,
    anonymous
  • we,re not negotiators

    personally it comes down to this. Im a tech, not a negotiator. I pay a union to do this on my behalf. Telstra has refused to deal with their own staffs union - the reasons why are BS. The deal may seem sweet to some, but they are only talking about the money. I dont know what the hidden meanings behind the contract are going to cost me. It's meant to be a negotiation but there's been none with us. We need proper legal scrutinisation - provide by our union.
    anonymous
  • Bigpond

    Shouldn't be a problem for Bigpond because although the charge for a 'premium' service, they only work Monday to Friday, 9am to 5.30pm.
    anonymous
  • Every one's a loser.

    Anon you are correct and you certainly should be allowed to have representation if you wish it.

    Well the die is cast and everyone will be losers. Lets hope sanity prevails and disaster is avoided.
    anonymous
  • lol, anon

    Bigpond Tech's 24/7 of that im sure, i transfer calls to them all hours of the night... what i think you may mean to say is that this isnt a problem for bigpond because its all been off-shored to another country...
    anonymous
  • Strike

    Cabel, if you look at some of the comments coming in from Optus Sub Contractors, that have not had a payrise at all, over the past 9 years, you would think the Telstra workers would be happy to have their jobs. So you are right, it does sound like BS.
    anonymous
  • Telstra employees speak out.

    Well said Sydney Lawrence. I only wish there were a lot more people with the same attitude as you continue to display. (For or against Telstra for that matter, as long as it makes good common sense.)
    anonymous