Telstra-contracted telemarketer faces court over work contracts

Telco Services Australia (TSA) is in hot water over allegedly shady contracting practices for call centre and door-to-door salespeople

Telco Services Australia (TSA) is in hot water over allegedly shady contracting arrangements for call centre workers and door-to-door salespeople.

Telstra has been contracting TSA since 2004 for direct sales and marketing of the telco’s products nationwide.

The Fair Work Ombudsman is taking TSA as well as another company, Trimatic Contract Services, to court for allegedly breaking a number of workplace laws.

The two companies have been accused of incorrectly classifying 10,000 sales staff as independent contractors instead of employees.

Telstra has distanced themselves from the situation but said the telco requires all of its partners to comply with relevant industrial laws. Telstra has no plans to cancel its partnership with TSA, according to a company spokesperson.

TSA could not be contacted at the time of publication.

“We are alleging the workers follow managers’ directions and had little or no freedom over fundamental matter such as their work hours and how they performed their duties,” Fair Work Ombudsman executive director, Michael Campbell, said in a statement. “Therefore, it is our position these workers were clearly employees, not independent contractors.”

Correct classification of workers is crucial since independent contractors may miss out on certain entitlements such as minimum rates of pay and annual leave.

TSA and Trimatic Contract Services will front the Federal Court on June 24. Maximum penalty per breach is $33,000.

Action by the Fair Work Ombudsman was a result of a lengthy investigation involving surprise inspections at various call centres.