The Communications Electrical and Plumbing Union (CEPU) announced today that Telstra workers had five days of rolling stoppages planned, which may result in disruptions to Telstra services.
The strikes will begin on Monday, and will be held in both Sydney and Melbourne. In addition, overtime bans will be observed by unionised Telstra workers on Saturday and Sunday. "It's certainly going to be a long weekend of industrial action for workers who are waiting to see if Telstra returns to the table in good faith," CEPU national president Ed Husic said today.
Husic claimed that Telstra had "gone out of [its] way to upset and aggravate their staff by rolling out non-union deals in an underhanded way".
The CEPU claimed that Telstra's management had re-organised workers to disrupt the unions. "Under the guise of a so-called 'organisational restructure', they've taken employees who've said they would vote against Telstra's non-union deals and placed them in groups more likely to vote up these deals," Husic said.
Husic claimed that Telstra's actions were a direct result of the WorkChoices legislation passed by the former Coalition government. "Telstra are doing this because WorkChoices lets them do it — and it is exactly the kind of bad faith behaviour that will be outlawed under the new laws to take effect from 1 July," he said
A Telstra spokesperson said: "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".
They added that "last weekend 20 Telstra employees had been on strike ... union membership at Telstra is only 15 per cent of our employee base."
Telstra had put forward an offer, they said, "which protects all current terms and conditions of enterprise agreement employees and guarantees 12.5 per cent pay increases over three years."
"Telstra is already recognised as offering the best pay and conditions in the telecommunications industry," the spokesperson said.