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Thousands of Telstra workers to walk off the job today

Image: Getty
Image: Getty

Telstra staff are set to walk off the job on Tuesday after pay disputes between the union and the telecommunications ended without a satisfactory outcome.

The Communications Electrical Plumbing Union (CEPU) has been discussing pay with Telstra since the beginning of last year, with the union now committing to a protected industrial action.

“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,” CEPU communications division national president, Shane Murphy said.

“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.”

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Just last week, Telstra announced plans to shut down 78 service centres, opening 28 new business centres in their place.

And the company revealed in February that it had trimmed 3205 jobs since June 2018 as part of its “simplification” regime.

CEPU said the action will cease as of midnight on Tuesday, with all staff bar those operating Triple Zero centres and undertaking emergency work to walk off the job.

Workers have also been told to respect a “ban on performance of essential customer service work”, including attending and responding to call outs.

Following the strike on Tuesday, union members have been instructed to reject all overtime unless there are threats to life or safety.

Telstra responds

“We have been given notice that members of the CEPU, one of Telstra’s three unions, may start industrial action from this Tuesday,” a Telstra spokesperson said in a statement.

“While it is disappointing that the CEPU has decided to encourage this action during what is a challenging time for our business, we respect the legal right of the union and its membership to do so.

“The action only involves CEPU members, who make up around 10 per cent of our total employee base, and it is up to these members to decide if they want to participate in these work bans.

“Under Fair Work laws, we are not permitted to pay people who are engaging in strike action.”

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