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Leaked industrial relations memo



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/ών MEDIA RELEASE WARWICK SMITH M.P. Shadow Minister for Communications

26 March 1991

LEAKED INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS MEMO

Telecommunications Development

Opposition spokesman, Warwick Smith, today released a Minute from the Department of Industrial Relations relating to a Telecom proposal to enter into franchise arrangements. (Minute dated March 1991 attached)

The proposed franchise arrangement, which relates to lines and maintenance work, is modelled on the successful New Zealand experience following NZ Telcom's full privatisation.

Mr Smith said the Minute indicated some 8000 Telecom employees would be affected.

The proposal for a major change in work place employment arrangements shows clearly that Telecom Australia is already feeling the cold winds of competition.

'Franchising is, however, but an interim step. Full release from the 'mothership' Telecom for maintenance and line employees - the new independent 'teletricians'* must be the direction of policy.

The Minister for Industrial Relations, Senator Cook, and Minister Beazley should support this very small step in the right direction.

The minute also indicates that redundancy packages are emerging as a pressure point. The announcement last week of a probable 6,000 employee reduction in Telecom's Country link network will bring pressure on the Government to recognise that Telecom must be able to manage its human resources to best advantage.

The days of Telecom acting as a "sheltered workshop" are over. As Michael MaKieve, executive general manager o f Telecom's country division said, job security is "a lie".

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Contact: Launceston 003 31 4322

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This net· lummeri*·· discussion· between Departmental Off leer· (Sloan·, Avails end Sutherland) and Ministerial staff (Kendal; and fsliick) on issue· arising out of ' previous dieouaeions between Ministerial staff and senior Telecom management representative· (Paul Rum&eli, Charles Allen and Frank Jone·;,

m a t t e r s c a n v a s s e d during d i s c u s s i o n

Telecom ie giving coneideration to some form of franchising arrangement ro cover line» end maintenance work, issues arising out of franchising eras

Union coverage and attitude, cable work in the private sector could co to the STV. Telecom favour one award and the establishment of an Industry Association. The scope for the a t e a end APTV to maintain coverage of thia area of work should be examined. The atea and Aftu would not accept franchising.

Numbers, Telecom hi· indicated that approximately 9,000 existing staff ecuId be directly affected by the introduction of Trenehi*ing. 7

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f from the recent introduction of franchising in NS.

Macotiatiae ipait^gp. m the event that franchising ie not acceptable it"should be maintained aa a concept beoeuee of its potentie * feoua negetiatiens or. workforce end workpiece re/orm, In any event it should i not be ruled out in the first instance.

In view of thee· developments it would be eppropriete for the Department to- Write to Telecom and refer te the recant dlsoueslone and the franchising option. The letter should make

■bh· point that although the proposal has only bean canvassed in · tentative manner details of the concept end the degree to which it he· been advanced should be provided to the Department*

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The Minister’s office hee requested details of the Department* input to the powers and immunities consultancy being conducted fom OOTAC. 1

Sale of Auaset

-t was suggested that a brief be prepared outlining the Departments responsibilities in the Aussst sale process, letters to Minister Seatley and unions setting cut the Department· *6lc should eccompany the brief.

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further developments arising out of ACTV representations may lead to a withdrawal of the Commonwealth’s submission on adjournment.

A range of criteria w i n be developed against which recomnandatlcns for intervention can be assessed*

8>4undaoffT There are · number of pressure points emerging en redundenoy, the Ministers consideration of each individual ease would be greatly assisted by a brief vhieh addressed the following:

. the current standard . the appropriate line to maintain and the logic behind it , currant and foreshadowed redundancy program* < the geographic location of llkaly retrenchments . scenarios that might be considered by the Ministers (eg)

- maintain the ourrent standard - one eft er specie! csss solutions - scope for employers to negotiate end fund special arrangements

. cost and flow-on imp! lost lone would also need to be addressed·

PTfiJUfrrta It is essential that in legitimising the OTC swards that problems ere not created for the merged enterprise

. the Commonwealth could not favour the ΑΤΙΑ over the PA82 even though the likely outcome is the disappearance of the M I X free the Telecommunications industry

♦ sea* further delay In progressing PRSl/OfC award» may bt appropriate and v# should keep this option under COftfiddration. Discussion with the ACTU an this point would also be appropriate.

Ratarred tor information.

t I V W S R L W

^ W R C H 1991