Telstra holds the line on staff pay negotiations

Community and Public Sector Union claims Telstra will not explain its decision to hold of on pay rises till March 2011

Telstra has refused to budge on its decision to withhold pay increases for staff, despite meeting with the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) yesterday to discuss the matter.

CPSU assistant national secretary, Louise Persse, told Computerworld Australia that the telco refused to elaborate on any reasons behind its decision to forgo pay rises for employees in its Consumer Division under Australian Workplace Agreements or Employee Collective Agreements.

“They said they understood how staff felt, they said they were being prudent and that they felt people were well paid already, however we don’t think our members are particularly well paid especially in comparison to some of the people making these decisions,” Persse said.

“Certainly we’re not satisfied, we don’t think our members will be either… I think members will certainly want to make their views known to Telstra over the next few months.

“Staff are very angry about this decision, it came out of the blue and they’re not getting a decent explanation for it.

“We certainly think that these people are deserving of a pay increase, especially given that for some of them this is the second year running.”

A Telstra spokesperson would not comment directly on the CPSU’s claims and reiterated the company’s statement of mid September.

“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.

According to Persse, many of the people affected by this decision get paid the equivalent of 80 per cent of their salary and a further 20 per cent contingent on whether they hit particular performance targets.

“The base pay that people get in some instances is under $40,000 so it’s not a lot of money,” she said.

“People don’t have a right as a group to get together and say as a group, ‘we think this is the basic pay increase that everyone should get’,” Persse said. “It’s all in the hands of the company, they’re still benefiting from [the Coalition’s Work Choices].”

The CPSU would now see to consult its members on ways to put pressure on Telstra on its decision and further action which could be taken.

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