The Guardian June 23, 1999


Telstra sacks 170 workers

Late last month Telstra announced it was going to make redundant the 
staff in its Adelaide and Brisbane mobile net memo centres, 100 workers in 
Brisbane and 70 in Adelaide. The work has been contracted to a private 
company who will employ staff on individual contracts as casual labour, at 
the same locations using the same equipment, but on substantially lower 
wages and conditions.

The Telecommunications and Services Branch of the CEPU says the new 
employer, whom Telstra has not named, may or may not re-employ some of the 
170 Telstra workers, though some may be redeployed within Telstra. 

Telstra openly admits that the reason for the move is not the workers' 
productivity and performance, but that it is cheaper to employ casuals.

"Telstra has only advised us that as from October 1 this year this new 
provider will be providing the labour", Gerry Kandelaars, union Branch 
Secretary, told The Guardian.

The union has begun a publicity campaign to raise awareness of the 
situation and is investigating the legal avenues. "The feedback is that 
legally we may have a few problems", said Mr Kandelaars.

"In my view it's a cynical exercise to undermine the labour rates. 
Essentially it's using [Workplace Relations Minister] Reith's laws to the 
best advantage of the employer.

"The further context is that we're concerned that if Telstra have done it 
here, what group of Telstra workers are they going to pick on next to do 
the same thing."

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