Unions go after Telstra investors

Unions go after Telstra investors

Summary: Telstra's unions have decided to approach the telco's institutional investors to put the bad word on Telstra's senior management in the lead up to its annual general meeting.

TOPICS: Telcos, Telstra

Telstra's unions have decided to approach the telco's institutional investors to put the bad word on Telstra's senior management in the lead up to its annual general meeting.

Those investors will be receiving requests for meetings from the unions, which seek to talk about their concerns that Telstra management's approach is endangering the success of the company, a view shared by many Telstra employees, according to Australian Council of Trade Unions secretary Jeff Lawrence.

"These workers have a long-term stake in the company's success, but are worried by the short term horizons of the current management team," Lawrence said in a statement this afternoon.

Lawrence said that it was the workers' right as shareholders to speak out on their concerns, for example, that the company had rejected relations with unions. Telstra walked out on negotiations with unions for a new employee agreement to replace expiring Australian Workplace Agreements in July, later refusing to deal with the ACTU.

"Management's heavy-handed tactics and disingenuous statements have also put offside the government, regulators, other telecommunications providers, and customers," Lawrence said.

He also expressed concerns that Telstra might walk away from the tender process to build the federal government's national broadband network (NBN), something which had been raised in a statement by a group of shareholders which Telstra was forced to provide to all its shareholders with the notice of its Annual General Meeting.

Other issues raised were that Telstra might be separated on winning the contract, which might lower the value of Telstra shares, and that the regulation of the network would put profits at risk. The authors of the statement did not believe that the long term risks to the company relating to the tender had been sufficiently taken into account.

Telstra Chairman Donald McGauchie addressed the shareholders' concerns in a preface to the statement. "The directors fully recognise the long-term risks associated with the NBN and are committed to an approach that minimises these risks and protects shareholders' investments in the company," he said.

Telstra directed media queries on the issue to McGauchie's communication to shareholders.

Topics: Telcos, Telstra

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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  • Desperation

    They are approaching the same organisations that hate them for support.

  • ACTU

    The ACTU has already made half a dozen crap statements this year, a sign of their flailing and ever weakening influence.

    Im a Telstra employee myself, and the only thing that the ACTU has done is piss me off by getting some wanker to sit outside the door forciing fliers into the hands of passers by.

    Then they ask you for over $200 a year to be a part of the union.

    Can someone please just have these people shot and save our "news" spaces for something real?
  • @actu

    *please have these people shot*

    my, what an intelligent comment.

    And you are the sort of grubby little man the unions are trying to protect. I hope you get hung out to dry, or are one of the next to be retrenched, during your one on one negotiations with telstras negotiating experts, after your disgraceful comments, fool.

    then who will you go crying to - the union, haha.
  • To Paul

    Crap statements, Paul?

    Speaking of which, why don't you scroll back up to the related stories section and click on the 3 most pertinent related stories.

    i. Court throws out Telstra union case
    ii Unions trump Telstra's lawyers AGAIN
    iii Telstra workers REJECT deal

    Then come back and tell us whos really the ones talking crap, Paul.
  • Fair go for all.

    Hope Mr Lawrence isn't copying the West Australian train drivers (who are on $210,000 a year) and are about to start strike action.

    Mr Lawrence would be doing better for his employers (the Rank and File) if he was to back Telstra for the NBN build, create a strong Australian company (Telstra) and negotiate a fair slice of the pie for Telstra workers.
  • @fair go

    sydney (lawrence), thats exactly what the jeff (lawrence) is wanting to do, but Telstra are refusing to negotiate. let me say it again, telstra are refusing to negotiate. without jumping on the bash telstra for no reason bandwagon, this time they deserve it.

    the ordinary person is sick and tired of executive managers getting $millions and then have them shaft the average employee.

    so i agree with you fair go for all, starting with telstra back to the negotiating table. if they refuse well the gloves are off, because of their own stubborness.
  • @@fair go

    The unions were born out of a legitimate need to protect workers.
    The pendulum then swung the other way and the unions were abusing the power (re BLF and such) and threatening the viability of business.

    Now pendulum has swung again and now its not the workers who are being abused but the unions reason for being is greatly diminished, and so is its power.
    For 1 very good reson, Employers are much more awake to the value of a good employee and are willing to award fair pay and conditions, actually go even further and incentivise and reward for performance.

    By the way the reason a company comes into being and takes great risk in doing so is to make profit. Not to make jobs. Thats just a side benefit that ebbs and flows. A company is only as good as its people but they are there to serve the company in its goal to make profit.

    Telstra's direct offer to employee's was more than fair.
  • Learn from the past.

    @fair go, totally agree with your thoughts and think that if Telstra workers vote for Union representation this is what should happen. Have some reservation (while fully understanding the motive) about damaging a company that employs you and who would have extra capacity to deliver superior working conditions if kept financially strong.
  • @@@fair go

    great, but this all smells like the carrot to me. once they agree and unions are diminished then what? I think deep down inside we all hope, but really, we all know what will happen.

    so we dont agree with telstra employee paul, who says all unionists should be shot then, hahaha. talking about the value of a good employee.
  • @desperation

    do you think?

    ask any shareholder, i'm not one, if he/she would like a drawn out IR dispute, impacting upon their share price and what do you think theyd say?

    i think its much like when telstra got shareholders involved with nwat. the unions are simply doing a telstra to telstra, ingenious.
  • Another employee

    My name happens to also be Paul but not the foul mouthed one above.

    I chose to leave the union while working for Telstra, I was sick and tired of getting 2% increases and have negotiated much better on my own. Every year I sit with my boss and compare my performance with the rest of my team (many of which are union members) and argue up front that I deserve a decent increase.

    I have averaged about 10% - 15% each year since I left the union 9 years ago (tripled my salary in 9 years without changing roles). Name one union that can say they have done this for their members.

    The unions are a waste of time, space and unfortunately for the union members money. As soon as my colleagues wake up to themselves and leave the union they will be much better off!
  • Every person worth their hire.

    Paul, while your negotiating skills have enabled you the reach satisfactory conclusions with your employer, it is a fact that some people (and this is not a criticism) do not posses your obvious skills.

    These are the employees that do need some person(not necessarily a Union) to speak on their behalf. If I happened to be working with you I would request you to debate with the employer on my behalf.

    The fact is the employer requires labour to perform tasks and is not inclined to be over generous. The employee is willing to sell his services but naturally wants a fair and reasonable remuneration for it.

    What happens for all to come to a satisfactory agreement is called "negotiating".
  • onyl fair

    i think its only fair that the union be able to contact shareholders, it's their company afterall, and telstra's all for getting them involved if its on their terms, (NWAT) so why the not so happy when the other camp try to get them involved... fairness swings both ways
  • more Anti-Telstra stuff

    how much they pay you for that comment..?
  • I totally support this ... NOT!

    How much is it to produce a mail out?

    2 pages for a letter
    1 page asking for a response
    1 return paid envelope
    1 envelope and postage
    Folding and inserting into the envelope.

    Let's be kind and say this is $1 per letter, at 1.5M shareholders this is $1.5M. This entire action will be to support pay increases for a maximum of 5,000 Telstra employees, this translates to $300 per employee. Now the union has a good excuse to increase their fees.

    That is a wonderful thought, maybe that will be enough to push more of these members to stop becoming union members.

    As a shareholder if I was to get a letter from them it would go straight into the garbage bin, I know that the Telstra board is doing what is in the best interests of the shareholders and I would never vote to support a union sponsored vote at an AGM.
  • lol

    yeah im sure telstra is doing whats in the best interest of the shareholders, maybe the unions are hoping to get through to some shareholders that dont like the way telstras giving their staff the big finger?

    and paid, by who exactly? i just said if telstra can send shareholders the good news, why cant the union send them some bad news?
  • As long as the unions fund it themselves

    enough said
  • agm, haha, yeah right.

    haha, it doesnt matter how you vote at the agm remember? shareholders voted against the executive payrise a while back and they told you to go ***k yourself, well do what we like, you are of no significance, mere shareholder.
  • anonymous

    in reference to anonymous, you have no idea of my personal situation, who I am, or anything else, so keep your "grubby little man" comments to yourself, theres no need for personal attacks.

    Once again as i've stated on other forums where people became upset over the "shot" comment, I retract it and acknowledge it was unnecessary, and that my only defence is that on the day I made the comment, I was pissed off at having someone trying to shove stuff into my hands whilst I was just trying to get into work.

    I dont like having people come up to me in shopping centres and try to sign me up for credit cards either, and before you say thats not relevant, when the paper I have shoved into my hands has a "signup" form on the back which then asks for 1% of my yearly wage for membership, its exactly the same.

    I agree that unions have their place, and im sorry if I've offended anyone with the prior remark. Looking back at the original comment I made, it wasnt very enlightened.

    My point stands though, I shouldnt have someone blocking my way into my workplace and trying to force forms into my hands, regardless of union or not.
  • rob happa

    Hi Rob,

    Admittedly as In my prior reply to the obviously far less intelligent than yourself anonymous contributor, the above statement by myself wasnt the most enlightened.

    Having said that, being part of Telstra and seeing the offer that was put forward, it was a great bloody deal better than my current AWA, and also better than most things I could find looking through other companies, so I just get slightly incenced when people say that Telstras constantly ripping off its workers.

    And once again, if your going to charge an extortionate amount of money for access to the union instead of a token amount as used to be the case, who's really doing the ripping off?

    The union isnt a benevolent organisation as they may once have been, theyre now a business, with all that that entails.