About 5000 Telstra workers are expected to strike today. Picture: Michael Dodge/Getty Images
About 5000 Telstra workers are expected to strike today. Picture: Michael Dodge/Getty Images

Telstra workers strike over pay

THOUSANDS of Telstra workers will down tools today in a 24 hour strike as the telco resists inking greater annual pay rises in its new enterprise bargaining agreement.

About 5000 workers are expected to go behind the picket line, mainly from the company's maintenance area who repair faults and manage new national broadband network connections and diagnostics.

Telstra has frustrated the Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union (CEPU) over its pay proposal of 4.5 per cent over three years, equating to just 1.5 per cent a year.

It's believed the CEPU is angling for a 3 per cent increase each year, and has argued the telco company's below-inflation offer amounts to a pay cut in real terms.

Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union Official Shane Murphy said Telstra was trying to force workers to take a pay cut in real terms. Picture: Supplied
Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union Official Shane Murphy said Telstra was trying to force workers to take a pay cut in real terms. Picture: Supplied

 

Nine Entertainment Co reported staff Triple-0 call centres - run by Telstra - will not be a part of the strike action. The company believes the impact on customers across the board will be minimal.

The union decided to call a general strike after originally planning a work ban, where staff would not "[undertake] specific duties during unpaid time," according to Nine Entertainment Co.

But Telstra said Fairwork rules meant anyone engaging in such a move would not be paid for the day.

CEPU communications division national president Shane Murphy said it left staff with "no choice but to move straight to a full general strike".

Telstra believes the strike will have miminal impact on customers. Picture: Michael Dodge/Getty Images
Telstra believes the strike will have miminal impact on customers. Picture: Michael Dodge/Getty Images

"The reason we're taking any protected industrial action is because Telstra is trying to force workers to take a pay cut, in real terms," Mr Murphy said in a statement.

"Workers have spent many months trying to get Telstra to come to the table with a fair wage offer, and all Telstra is doing is axing jobs and slashing wages."

Telstra said the strike action was "disappointing " during a "challenging time for [the] business", according to Nine Entertainment Co.

The telco plans to slash more than 8000 roles across the next four years, but plans to add 1500 new jobs.



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