Telstra staff face six month pay rise wait

The telco confirms Consumer Division staff will not have their pay reviewed until March 2011

Telstra's (ASX:TLS) Consumer Division staff will have to wait at least six months before their claim to a pay increase is considered, the telco has confirmed.

In a statement to Computerworld Australia a Telstra spokesperson said any pay increase would be contingent on an increase in business performance.

“In March 2011, the leadership team in Telstra’s Consumer division will review whether eligible employees in that division will receive a pay increase based on the performance of the business,” the statement reads.

The postponed increase applies to staff under Australian Workplace Agreements or Employee Collective Agreements.

The response from Telstra will come as a blow to its staff which have been petitioning the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) to push for a pay increase on their behalf.

In a letter penned this week to Telstra chief executive, David Thodey, the CPSU, said it had received “many” calls from members in the division on the issue of a pay rise.

“The CPSU has received complaints from members in Telstra Country Wide, Telstra Consumer and Telstra Shops regarding their remuneration review for 2010,” CPSU assistant national secretary, Louise Persse, wrote in the letter, which also called for an “urgent” meeting.

“Some staff have been told there will be no pay increase this year; others have been advised any increase has been postponed until March 2011.”

According to Persse, this is the second consecutive year staff have forgone a pay increase.

“Staff also report significant feelings of betrayal,” the letter reads. “When signing up to these agreements, staff were led to believe that Telstra would reward their hard work and loyalty.

“Staff would like an explanation as to why they, and not the rest of the company, are being told they must forego pay.”

Persse told Computerworld Australia the CPSU had a meeting scheduled with the telco next week in which the union will ask the company to reconsider its decision.

“I think [the meeting] will be positive if Telstra takes into account the hard work of their staff, so I will certainly be presenting that to them and really it’s up to them how they responds to that,” Persse said.

“I think they need to think about if they’re trying to improve performance, the effect that this approach is having on their employees, because people think it’s just not fair and that will certainly affect the way people feel about their work.”

The negotiations between Telstra and the CPSU have been protracted. In October last year the CPSU warned of potential strike action.

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