Telstra meets CWU over alleged issues with redundancy procedures


news Telstra has met with the Communication Workers Union (CWU) over claimed procedural discrepancies as the telco seeks to reduce staff numbers via voluntary redundancies.

The CWU said its divisional office has received reports of employees not being paid what the union regards as their full entitlements in areas of the firm’s business that have called for large numbers of such volunteers.

In particular, it suggests, Global Contact Centre (GCC) employees are being required to leave the company before they have completed four weeks in the placement period and then being “denied payment for the balance due to them in lieu of notice”. The CWU said this means the staff involved are effectively being retrenched.

The CWU previously recommended that its members reject Telstra’s most recent enterprise agreement, largely on the basis of changes to the redundancy provisions.

Another focus of the union’s concerns was the requirement that employees accept redeployment, whether they wanted to or not, rather than the provisions for voluntary redundancy.

The CWU said it is now apparent that the “practical consequences” of these provisions could be to “short-change” employees, depending on how some clauses are interpreted and put into action.

In other areas of the business, the union claimed, employees who have volunteered for redundancy and who wish to leave the company before Christmas to seek new employment in the new year are being denied permission to leave until “well into 2016”.

Telstra will now “examine promptly” the immediate problems which have arisen in the GCC. Further discussions around the voluntary redundancy procedures are expected to be held early next year.

The CWU has suggested that any member considering accepting a voluntary redundancy should contact their state branch for advice on their options.

On October 27th, Telstra informed the CWU about proposed changes that would result in making 480 positions redundant.

According to a CWU statement at the time, the union was “shocked” by the scale of these redundancies since the enterprise agreement that was supposed to promote job security was inked only recently.

Then soon after, on 26 November, the firm announced a further 200 redundancies over which the union also voiced concerns.

Image credit: Telstra