Around 55 telecommunications technicians working on the Telstra copper network connecting and maintaining the National Broadband Network (NBN) have been sacked, according to the Communications Electrical and Plumbing Union (CEPU).
The union claimed on 11 August that labour-hire company, Trilogie Resourcing, told workers from the Port Macquarie, Newcastle and Hunter, Greater Sydney and Australian Capital Territory (ACT) regions, that the company was “folding” and that they no longer had a job today.
“These workers were called to a meeting, told they no longer have a job, then ushered over to a storage facility where they had to hand over their phones, car keys and other items and then shoved into taxis and sent home,” CEPU NSW/ACT Branch Secretary, Shane Murphy, said.
“These are a mixture of younger workers, mature-aged workers and workers living with disability. This company has turfed them out with no regard for their future,” he said.
According to Murphy, Trilogie Resourcing has connections to training provider, Celemetrix, which counts Telstra and nbn among its partners, along with IBM, Fluke and Visionstream.
Murphy claimed that the company’s directors claim ownership of Trilogie Resourcing.
“This company has been the subject of a number of worker complaints including the failure to provide adequate training, unlawful withholding of overtime payments and unfair dismissals,” Murphy said.
Murphy pins much of the blame on the contracting arrangements often set to service the NBN rollout, which sometimes involve multiple tiers of sub-contractors.
“[It] is seriously flawed,” he said. “Industry skills are disappearing; wages are dropping and workers are being left vulnerable. These 55 workers are the faces of a system that’s simply not working."
Murphy said that the CEPU will be doing everything it can to ensure the workers get all their entitlements and are engaging with other industry employers to see if employment can be found elsewhere for them.
“Today’s job losses are a devastating blow for these workers and their families, and also the predominately regional areas they work in,” Murphy said. “It’s also a devastating blow to residents and business who are struggling to have their NBN services connected and outstanding faults repaired.”
Neither Trilogie Resourcing nor Celemetrix had responded to ARN’s queries at the time of writing.