news Telstra is “failing to maintain its exchange buildings” and many are in a “disgraceful state”, the Communications Workers Union (CWU) has said.
The union said it “continues to receive” reports from its members, both Telstra employees and contractors, over the “poor” levels of cleanliness and overall maintenance of exchanges.
In New South Wales recently, union members allegedly documented dirty washrooms, blocked toilets and broken floor tiles in the buildings.
“But the problems are not confined to NSW – they have become commonplace throughout the national network,” the CWU said in a statement.
“Orderly exchange buildings were once the pride of the thousands of technicians who worked in them but as automation and centralisation has emptied many of any constant human presence they have been allowed to deteriorate,” it added.
As a result, workers in these the buildings have to cope with a “likely” lack of amenities and possibly even “significant health and safety hazards”.
The issue was raised during the most recent round of enterprise bargaining between the union and Telstra, and undertakings were given by the firm that the problems would be “systematically addressed”, according to CWU President Shane Murphy.
“But obviously not enough has happened,” he said. “Telstra doesn’t seem to have been taking this issue seriously.”
Murphy acknowledged that there has been “some action” since the issue was raised again last month, the “years of neglect” mean progress in bringing improvements is “slow”.
“The CWU will be reminding members that they have the right to refuse to work in situations that pose a threat to their health and safety. The evidence suggests many exchanges could come into this category,” Murphy concluded.