Telstra strike suspended after ‘promising breakthrough’

Telstra strike suspended after ‘promising breakthrough’

Union and telco return to the table

Union bosses have suspended further strike action by Telstra employees due to a ‘promising breakthrough’ in negotiations.

Members of the CEPU Communications Workers Union (CWU) had planned several half-hour stoppages for for the 23, 24, 26, 29 and 30 of April, as the union continues to fight for a new, fair enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA) – including a pay rise.

The union has now informed its members to stop actions as of 25 of April with its divisional president Shane Murphy saying the two parties would now return to the bargaining table until further notice.

“It has been a difficult and hard-fought campaign so far, but this breakthrough has been achieved through your commendable determination to have your voices heard,” he said.

“We’re looking forward to getting on with talks to wrap up a new enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA) that delivers the fairness our members and their families rely upon, and deserve.”

The action follows a vote by roughly 1,600 Telstra members of CEPU to strike in March after the telco offered workers a 1.5 per cent pay rise per year until 2022 -  something the union argued was below current inflation.

The union has also attacked plans by Telstra to let go 9,500 staff go 2022 while at the same time opening an ‘Innovation and Capability Centre’ in Bangalore. In February, it was revealed that 3,200 people have left the company in Australia.

Telstra has said that CEPU members account for just 10 per cent of its total workforce - around 3,000 employees - and claimed “well under 1,000 members" took part in a day of action on 10 April.

However, CEPU had previously told ARN it expected up to 6,000 employees to go on strike.

Divisional secretary Greg Rayner warned that while the recent breakthrough was promising, members should be prepared to recommence in action should talks fall through.

Field and site worker members will meanwhile continue planned 30 minute work stoppages between 7am and 8am on the following dates: 24, 26, 29 and 30 April.

According to the union's directive, members due to start shifts at 7:30am and 8am are not to perform work for the preceding half hours.

Members working at Telstra’s Global Operations Centre in Victoria are also due to suspend duties resulting from offshore referrals on 23, 24 and 26 April 2019.

"We have invited our unions to a meeting to seek to resolve the current impasse in bargaining. This will be arranged as soon as practicable. We remain committed to bargaining in good faith for a new agreement that meets the needs of our business, employees and shareholders," a Telstra spokesman said.

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