The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) has revealed plans to join the industrial action planned at Telstra for Tuesday next week.
The Communications Electrical and Plumbing Union (CEPU) is already planning action over the weekend, before starting again on Tuesday morning. In a statement issued this week, CPSU national president Louise Persse said her group would join the Tuesday action, in the form of a four-hour stoppage before each members' usual starting time.
About 93 per cent of about 1,000 CPSU Telstra workers who voted in a recent poll voted to strike, although a number of workers did not vote. Around 4,400 CEPU workers had voted.
"The purpose of this limited protected industrial action is to highlight Telstra management's failure to make an agreement — not to inconvenience Telstra's long-suffering customers. To beat expected delays, we would strongly advise customers to avoid dealing with [Telstra] on Tuesday morning," said Persse.
"Telstra staff are taking this action because they are 'over' being bullied and ignored by Telstra management. Despite having more than 12 months to get their act together, Telstra management have failed to listen to their own employees and negotiate a union collective agreement."
Persse said Telstra could be a bully at times. "Sometimes you have to stand up to bullies," she said, pointing out that the Rudd Government was introducing new industrial relations laws. "The smart thing for Telstra management to do now would be to give up its pointless crusade against making a union agreement, and focus on making a decent deal that provides better pay and conditions for staff, and better productivity for the company," she said.
"What staff want is not unreasonable. The right to have your union help negotiate your pay and conditions is not unreasonable — it should be something beyond dispute in a civilised Western democracy," she concluded.