Telstra strike kills Xstrata's phones

Telstra's long-running strike has resulted in the phones in one of mining company Xstrata's offices going down for two days, the telco's main union claimed this week.

Telstra's long-running strike has resulted in the phones in one of mining company Xstrata's offices going down for two days, the telco's main union claimed this week.

(Downtown Sydney image by rjackb, CC2.0)

According to the Communications Electrical and Plumbing Union, phones were down in Xstrata's Mackay office last Thursday and Friday after striking workers refused to fix them. The phones stayed down until a strike breaker was flown in to fix the problem for Friday night, the union said.

Telstra management will be forced to negotiate, and they know that better than anybody, despite the nonsense management has been going on with.

CEPU spokesperson

The union also maintained that the problem had caused Telstra chief executive Sol Trujillo to become remotely involved.

A media spokesperson for Xstrata had not commented on the issue at the time of publication, while Telstra would not comment specifically on the issue, repeating its line that the strike had resulted in almost zero impact for customers.

"The vast majority of employees have decided to remain on the job serving our customers and industrial action to date has had almost zero customer impact," the Telstra spokesperson said. "We are prepared and we will do all we need to do to maintain levels of service to our customers."

The Xstrata outage has not been the only consequence of the strike, which has been going on since December last year, with multiple groups of workers walking off the job for prolonged periods of time, the union said.

The union reported its members as saying "All fault queues are exploding and the huge delays in activation orders are so big, the management are taking desperate steps to try and cover up the impact."

Including other action, the union has said that Telstra employees working on the PSTN network in Victoria walked out for over a week over Easter. All Tasmanian, South Australian and Northern Territory members have walked out for a day. Queensland employees working in service delivery and transmission stopped work for five days. The global operations centre workers are considering more strikes. Overtime and recall bans have been in place almost every weekend since the strike began.

The union reminded members that it could take legal protected industrial action in the form of a 24-hour strike or a four-hour strike on any day.

"This can be very effective action in some situations where cut-overs are planned, where there are important planned events, where there are urgent jobs required by management or where management required targets are to be met," the union said. "Telstra management will be forced to negotiate, and they know that better than anybody, despite the nonsense management has been going on with."