Approximately 50 IBM GSA staff gathered in Elizabeth Street, Sydney in a stop-work meeting last week to discuss and vote on the question of possible further industrial action against the IT services giant.
Simultaneous meetings, organised by the Communications and Public Sector Union (CPSU), were also held in Brisbane and Melbourne. The former Telstra employees, who went to IBM GSA to work on Telstra accounts after the recent signing of an outsourcing agreement between the two, held simultaneous meetings.
Stephen James, assistant secretary of the CPSU, addressed the staff and described IBM GSA as "an American company that wasn't hot on teamwork", whereas Australians are used to working and negotiating together.
The meeting involved the voting on two motions, both to do with the staff's right to negotiate. James claimed that IBM GSA would not have won the Telstra outsourcing contract without union support. He also called for common sense to prevail, and for IBM GSA representatives to negotiate collectively with the staff.
National Legal and Industrial Officer for the CSPU, Andrew Rich, confirmed the union would be pursuing additional legal avenues in an attempt to convince IBM GSA to negotiate.
He cited the existing precedent of courts that consider the outsourcing as a "transfer of business situation", where working conditions, including the right to collectively negotiate, has to be maintained.
Both motions at the Sydney meeting were passed unanimously and further action is being planned to ensure the union's concerns are heard.