Time to call Chorus to account over UFB contracting
E tū says Chorus must be called to account after revelations about the work practices at Frontier Communications - a subcontractor to Chorus UFB cabling contractor, Visionstream.
Former Frontier Communications worker, Wilem Brown of Nelson says he was expected to install UFB cables, despite receiving no training, and was only paid $12.00 an hour – less than the minimum wage.
E tū’s Communications Industry Coordinator Joe Gallagher says Wilem’s story should be sounding alarm bells.
E tū’s Industry Coordinator, Communications, Joe Gallagher says Wilem’s story should be sounding alarm bells.
“First of all, there’s the human cost here. Wilem thought his new job was the start of a new career as a cable technician. Instead he was exploited and now he’s out of a job,” says Joe.
“Secondly, we believe his story is just the tip of the iceberg. We’ve also had the case of the so-called “volunteers” working for free for Chorus subcontractor, UCG.
“While both cases have come to light in Nelson, there are similar problems elsewhere. It is clear Chorus’s contracting model is broken,” he says.
Joe says Chorus is under-funding its contractors and it’s time something was done to preserve the integrity of the UFB installation programme.
“We need an industry framework which provides clear employment conditions, sound parameters for health and safety and delivers a good outcome for the consumer,” he says.
Joe says a Government inquiry is also needed into the installation standards for this critical infrastructure.
“The pyramid nature of contracting is insidious. The further you get away from the source, the harder it is to hold companies to account. But Chorus needs to be called to account,” says Joe.