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Telecoms workers strike

October 13, 2005

Telecoms workers strike

Many of the workers who maintain the Telecom network will strike Friday in protest over their low wages.

Field staff employed by Transfield will take industrial action after weeks of fruitless negotiations with the company.

Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union national secretary Andrew Little said that the workers were frustrated by the company’s refusal to lift its wage offer above two per cent.

“That will not even keep up with inflation,” he said.

“This is a highly skilled, dedicated workforce. These are the people who are out in storms fixing our telephone lines while the rest of us are safe inside. They’ve seen their pay and conditions being steadily eroded over the past decade or so to the point where they are now seeing their teenaged children earn more than they do, and they’re saying enough is enough. Five per cent is the going rate, and they deserve it as much as anyone.”

Mr Little said that the industrial action would vary from “Telecom patch to patch”, but would mainly be a strike tomorrow, followed by a ban on overtime and call-outs from Monday.

Workers would consider responding to genuine emergencies on a case-by-case basis, he said.

* Telecom contracts out most of its lines work. The two main contractors are Transfield and Downer.

ENDS

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