Telstra has hit back at union unhappiness over the
telco's latest attempt to reach consensus on a new enterprise
agreement for its workers.
The telco's main union, the Communications, Electrical and
Plumbing Union, yesterday confirmed it had rejected an offer which
would see staff receive up to 11 per cent pay increases over the
next three years, raising the spectre of industrial action after a
long period of quiet within Telstra's ranks.
"We remain committed to good faith bargaining and delivering a
pay increase to our employees," the telco said in a statement. "We
believe this is a good offer, taking into consideration the
unprecedented downturn the global economy has experienced. Under
the same economic constraints we completely froze pay increases for
The telco said it had proposed a pay increase of 11 per
cent over three years — a 2 per cent increase plus an up to 2 per
cent sign-on bonus for the first year; a 3 per cent increase for
the second year; and 4 per cent for the third year, plus an annual
performance bonus for top performers of up to 2.5 per cent each
year. The telco also introduced full salary packaging benefits,
including $1000 per year towards Telstra products.
"We will continue to work toward finalising an agreement that is
equitable for both our employees and our business; one which
enables us to meet our customers' expectations and remain
competitive," said Telstra. "Negotiations have generally been
constructive and we are focused on finalising a fair
However, the union is not just complaining about the size of
Telstra's proposed pay increase, which it wants boosted to 15 per
The union has claimed Telstra wants to put employees on
different pay arrangements than those that currently apply to stuff
under an enterprise agreement. "Those arrangements would be based
on classification structures that have not been negotiated with the
union," a CEPU newsletter published last week stated.
In addition, the issue of whether employees would be able to use
the full powers of the national workplace relations tribunal Fair
Work Australia has not been decided.