Telstra's unions have decided to approach the telco's institutional investors to put the bad word on Telstra's senior management in the lead up to its annual general meeting.
Those investors will be receiving requests for meetings from the
unions, which seek to talk about their concerns that Telstra
management's approach is endangering the success of the company, a
view shared by many Telstra employees, according to Australian Council of Trade Unions secretary
"These workers have a long-term stake in the company's
success, but are worried by the short term horizons of the current
management team," Lawrence said in a statement this afternoon.
Lawrence said that it was the workers' right as shareholders to
speak out on their concerns, for example, that the company had rejected
relations with unions. Telstra walked out on negotiations with unions
for a new employee agreement to replace expiring Australian Workplace Agreements
in July, later refusing to deal with the ACTU.
"Management's heavy-handed tactics and disingenuous statements
have also put offside the government, regulators, other
telecommunications providers, and customers," Lawrence said.
He also expressed concerns that Telstra might walk away from the
tender process to build the federal government's national broadband network (NBN), something which had been raised in a statement by a
group of shareholders which Telstra was forced to provide to all
its shareholders with the notice of its Annual General Meeting.
Other issues raised were that Telstra might be separated on
winning the contract, which might lower the value of Telstra
shares, and that the regulation of the network would put profits at
risk. The authors of the statement did not believe that the long
term risks to the company relating to the tender had been
sufficiently taken into account.
Telstra Chairman Donald McGauchie addressed the shareholders'
concerns in a preface to the statement. "The directors fully
recognise the long-term risks associated with the NBN and are
committed to an approach that minimises these risks and protects
shareholders' investments in the company," he said.
Telstra directed media queries on the issue to McGauchie's communication to shareholders.