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Optus subcontractors go back to work

The striking subcontractors from Optus contractor Stream Communications have come back to work this morning on the condition that the company will now attempt to work through their grievances.

The striking subcontractors from Optus contractor Stream Communications have come back to work this morning on the condition that the company will now attempt to work through their grievances.

(Credit: ZDNet.com.au)

"Our guys are back in the understanding that we will be working through the issue to come up with a satisfactory outcome," Stream Communications managing director Don Muirhead told ZDNet.com.au this morning.

The subcontractors had been striking since last Friday because of unhappiness over rates and work procedures. Yesterday a forum of subcontractors working for both of the Optus contractors, BSA and Stream Communications, had rejected a proposal to come back to work.

The decision this morning to work while negotiations went on had seen at least Stream Communications' subcontractors dive straight back into work. "We've got some guys already out there," Muirhead said. He was unable to say whether BSA's workers had also come back to the fold, however, he suspected it was so. BSA and Stream Communications share Optus' contracting work 50/50, he said. BSA did not respond to requests for comment.

Many of the Optus customer installations which had been pushed back because of the strike will now be brought forward, according to Muirhead. The subcontractors may even do extra work to reduce the queues of waiting customers. "If there is a backlog and Optus wants to we will ask the guys if they want to [work on Sunday]," Muirhead said.

Stream now has until next year to sift through its subcontractors' problems. "Our aim is to try to come up with a solution by 1 February," Muirhead said.

Optus was unable to provide comment in time for publication.