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Unions to reject Telstra's 9% offer

Telstra has offered around 10,000 unionised staff a 9 per cent rise over three years. But the offer looks set to be rejected by the telco's main union representatives, who want a 15 per cent rise.

Telstra has offered around 10,000 unionised staff a 9 per cent rise over three years. But the offer looks set to be rejected by the telco's main union representatives, who want a 15 per cent rise.

David Thodey (Credit: Telstra)

Telstra chief David Thodey yesterday issued a statement to staff outlining the offer under Telstra's new enterprise agreement (EA), which was positioned by the chief as "a good one" in the current climate. The two commenced the ongoing negotiations shortly after Thodey was appointed in May.

Telstra's offer would see staff on the agreements receive increases "over the three years in line with forecasts of gradual economic recovery", Thodey's letter said. Staff would get a 2 per cent rise on current rates this year, 3 per cent the next, and a 4 per cent increase in year three.

"We also recognise that EA employees did not receive a pay rise in 2008 and that is why we believe including a bonus of up to 2 per cent in the first year is fair," said Thodey.

Thodey's letter has been taken by the union as a pre-emptive strike, with the Communications, Electricians and Plumbers Union (CEPU) claiming the negotiations were incomplete at the time of yesterday's offer.

"It's a pay offer to be negotiated. [Telstra] made the offer across the bargaining table and then sent the information to the troops," said Len Cooper, Victorian Branch secretary of the CEPU. "It's only a 9 per cent offer over three years, and the union's claim is 15 per cent, backdated to the 5 September 2008," said Cooper.

While the union and Telstra have said they would continue bargaining in good faith, Cooper said there was some chance of union action restarting after the recent reprieve.

The letter was co-signed by Telstra's human resources director, Andrea Grant. "We hope our employees and bargaining representatives (including unions) support the pay increases put forward. We have asked unions to provide their thoughts about the offer next week," wrote Thodey. "Any outcome from negotiations will be subject to a vote by eligible employees."