Video: Telstra union talks strike, NBN

Video: Telstra union talks strike, NBN

Summary: Telstra's exit from the National Broadband Network process will help focus industry attention on the industrial action being held by its workers, the company's main union states in this video interview.


video Telstra's exit from the National Broadband Network process will help focus industry attention on the industrial action being held by its workers, the company's main union states in this video interview.

In a video interview with, Ed Husic, national president of the Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union (CEPU), said that Telstra's ejection from the NBN process had drawn peoples' attentions to what he said was Telstra's habit of riding roughshod over workers, regulators and government alike.

"People will contrast the way that Telstra has behaved with employees and the unions... and they'll be able to say what they're doing to the unions and employees is exactly what they've done to the government," he said.

What he said was Telstra's failure to force the government to do what it wanted would bring the industry to take a closer look at whether Telstra's heavy handed management of human relations issues were the best way to go forward, he claimed. "What they've done to the government ... has amounted to a big cost to Telstra and what cost will be paid as a result of them not working out their problems with the unions?"

Workers started to strike last weekend after negotiations with the company over an employment agreement broke down. Saturday saw a ban on overtime, with bad weather in Victoria seeing a jump in the number of recorded faults, according to the union.

Yesterday, workers started stoppages, walking out of work to attend union briefings and barbecues. The intensity of the action would only escalate, according to Husic, who said that the start had been "soft" to give the company time to rethink its stance.

Last night the CEPU said it gave notice to Telstra of further industrial action — a 48-hour stoppage from lunch time tomorrow affecting network construction within NSW and Victoria, Service Delivery within Queensland, NSW, Victoria, South Australia, Northern Territory and Western Australia and all CEPU members walking off the job in Tasmania.

There will also be a 24-hour stoppage from lunchtime on Friday 19 December affecting network construction in all states and Telstra services delivery within the ACT.

Topics: NBN, Broadband, Telcos, Telstra, IT Employment

Suzanne Tindal

About Suzanne Tindal

Suzanne Tindal cut her teeth at 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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  • wonder how long this'll go for?

    I wonder how long this saga will go on for? cause I honestly dont see telstra backing down, ever, and they cant fire the union members for striking, I honestly believe telstra would rather just have the 5000 union members stay on strike than back down
  • Balance

    Has ZDNet approached Telstra for a reply video to allow Telstra to put their side of the story?
  • wonder how long this'll go for

    The simple answer is until Telstra goes back to the table, or July 1 when the new IR laws come in. Telstra employees are very angry with how they have been treated for the past 8 years and in particular the last 3 years under Sol. It all came to a head when it was revealed that Telstra never had any intention of negotiating with the unions, refer to AIRC commission. The fact is Telstra doesn't want the unions involved in the business, they want to dictate to everyone just like they have done to the government and customers
  • Balance

    hey Sydney,

    we do call Telstra (or anyone else) for right of reply when people make claims against them - we'd be happy to do a video with them talking about the union etc as well. We have done a number of videos with Telstra in the past, although not specifically on the union issue.

    Will ask them tomorrow.


    Renai LeMay
    News Editor
  • Open debate.

    Thats great Renai, thanks. Hope Telstra reply in the affirmative. Can't think any reason not to.
  • Personal Telstra Boycott

    It isn't just the government and employees that Telstra management are trying to manipulate for their own (and subsequently and incidentally) shareholders benefit... its the whole country and customers too.
    Personally I'm doing my level best to reduce my customer spend with Telstra - they used to get $100-150 out of me each month. I have that under $30 now and it will stay there.
  • No big deal.

    Anon that sounds like a logical business plan to me but what I find strange is why would you bother to comment on it.

    Naturally you will use whatever supplier delivers the most satisfactory result. Most users choose Telstra but you don't, that's fine and it's called competition.
  • Personal Telstra Boycott

    Actually, for mobile services I chose Three Mobile, despite poorer coverage. I can live with it.
    As for why I bother to comment on it, my largely insignificant gesture of choosing to shun Telstra services carries just a little extra emphasis if the gesture is public.
  • Who cares?

    Small bikkies and of no interest. Except obviously to yourself.
  • Personal Telstra Boycott

    And of course, add yourself to the growing ranks of Telstra bashers. You guys really intrigue me, by expecting a helluva lot more for a low dollar input. Suggest you talk to some of the bleating Optus sub contractors, that lined the roads of Sydney yesterday, banging on about how poorly Optus treat them. But it's hard to dig up diamonds with a wooden beach shovel.
  • Telstra has let Australia down

    Telstra was endowed with a trust by all Australians to give this Country the best communications system in the world.

    We gave them monopoly powers to do this.

    Instead we have a third world network controlled by a maniacal company who's greedy quest is to milk every customer for as much cash as they can get, smash all opposition and mislead (substitute, outright lie) to their partners.

    They have consistently let down their staff, shareholders. wholesalers and customers but most of all they have let down Australia.

    From charging for free back channel data to charging 1000's of dollars for $29.95 internet plans Telstra has used every trick in the book to deceive their customers

    Telstra's unreasonable line rentals high connection costs and "hidden charges" that keep the cost of internet so outrageously high in this country making our (un) communications system a joke compared to the rest of the world.

    Sol, you should give back your $13.5 million blood money for being yet another outstanding failure for this country.

    Then the board should elect a CEO who has the good of this country at heart.
  • No big deal

    I don't think you appreciate what anon is getting at.

    I am so disgusted with Telstra that I go out of my way not to deal with them and I am assuming anon is the same.

    I even try not to deal with companies that deal with them as a sub-carrier (like 3 for instance)

    This is not a choice based on economics. its based on principle.

    However I must concede if you were basing your choice on economics you would NEVER choose Telstra anyway.
  • Fess up Terry.

    Terry you have my sympathies. Obviously you are bordering on obsession. If you did not get satisfactory service from Telstra, fine, go elsewhere.

    Only a person with paranoia, or a personal financial self interest, would continue such a vendetta. Forget Telstra and move on Mate, unless of course your desire to damage Telstra is for other reasons.
  • Personal Telstra Boycott

    Well I hope you realize that by using 3 mobile, you are still indirectly supporting Telstra.
  • re Telstra has let Australia down.

    Terry, I suggest you take heed from Sydney Lawrence, and conduct your vendetta elsewhere. I am a Telstra shareholder, who has a lot more faith in Sol and his board, than ratbags like you. You have the choice to take your business where ever you like, and I hope you do. Well away from Australia preferably.
  • Sad Australians.

    It is my sincere hope that Senator Conroy will be awake to the fact that those who constantly bag Telstra have devious financial interest that will be enhanced by any damage they can inflict on Telstra.

    I have experienced treacherous traitors in wartime but this is the first time I have experienced them acting against their own country in times of peace.
  • Sad Australians.

    Hear hear Sydney. But most of these brain dead morons, haven'y got half a clue what is really going on. So there is not much point in trying to work out why they have such a hatred towards Telstra.
  • sydney

    I work for the fools, they pay me an hrly sum of money and i still think what there doing is disgusting and wrong, "devious financial interests" my arse sydney... The optus strike has been resolved, optus acknowledged them and their issues, and basically "give us some time, we'll see what we can sort out for you guys"... telstra,, has telstra even approached their striking workers and asked why their striking... this is a perfect bloody example of middle and upper managements attitude towards the call centre/tech grunts... "sol sol! the workers are starting to go on strike" "hmm the peasants are striking you say?, well this issue is certainly below me! i care not for anything except profits, screw them!"

    And hey sydney!! guess what, guess what! look at telstra's share holder portfolio... theres someone on there who's... *Gasp* chinese!, and omg! a singaporean 2! the invasions happening!! to the bunkers people to the bunkers!!! ahhhhhhh! (btw sydney, race bashing or the belief that 1's race is superior is really an attitude that our society as a whole doesnt embrace.., perhaps you should see someone about that??)
  • Ockers, Yobbos and Morons.

    Joe after the absolute shocking and unforgivable racist slurs that self seeking individuals have made in the past regarding Sol don't lecture me about racism.

    I have seen Sol called a Mexican by imbicilic retards who would not know the North Pole from the steamy jungles of the Amazon. Lift your game and become a decent Australian.
  • so you see thats its bad then?

    "unforgivable racial slurs" ... then you realize racism is wrong?? yet "foreign masters" "wouldnt trust singapore" "links with the chinese"... isnt that just as wrong as saying bloody mexican? your argument of tesltra over optus is that there australian compared to singaporean, therefore, better? seriously sydney, you call optus decietful and what not based on their country of incorporation but act worse than stans mum (sth park quote, What what what!) when some1 calls sol a mexican?!