Telstra workers will be very disappointed with the decision taken by the company’s Human Resources managers to call off talks with unions.

ACTU Secretary Jeff Lawrence said today that the decision by managers to call off talks will put at risk the future pay and job conditions of around 32,000 Telstra workers.

Mr Lawrence said:

“Calling off talks at such an early stage of negotiations is not at all helpful.

“There are 11,000 Telstra workers whose collective agreement is due to expire later this year.
“There are also more than 21,000 workers at Telstra who are on Australian Workplace Agreements that will expire in the near future.

“The Rudd Government has banned new AWAs so these workers want and deserve some certainty about their wages and entitlements. They also want the security of being represented by their union.
“The company really needs to sit down with unions and plan for an orderly transition to a collective agreement that will protect the pay and conditions of all Telstra workers.

“Work Choices and the use of AWA individual contracts were resoundingly rejected by the Australian public at last year’s federal election.

“The position of the company’s management is also at odds with public opinion. A Galaxy survey conducted last week shows overwhelming support for the immediate restoration of collective bargaining rights for Australian workers.

“It is appalling that the company’s management ignored the result of the election and went ahead to sign up a further 15,000 employees onto new AWAs after the election and before AWAs were banned by the new Govt.

“HR managers must have worked a lot of overtime to sign up so many staff in such a short period before the Rudd Govt banned new AWAs on 27 March 2008.

“We encourage the company‘s management to drop its obsessive adherence to Work Choices and to adopt a more cooperative approach with its staff and sit down with unions,” said Mr Lawrence.