||Issue No. 124||15 February 2002|
Chickens Come Home
Unions: Winning the Heartland
Interview: Swan's Song
Corporate: Lessons from Enron
Politics: What We Did Last Summer
History: Solidarity in Song
International: A Tale of Two Cities
Poetry: Nobody Told Me
Review: Labor and the Rings
Satire: Rafter Named Bermudan Of The Year For Tax Purposes
The Locker Room
Week in Review
'International Labour's Year in Review' - A Re-View
Collins Gets Cryptic
Telstra's Tragic Delays Of Its Own Making
Instead the Union puts the problem down to more avoidable human causes.
Ian McCarthy, the CEPU's NSW Telecommunications Branch Secretary, says that his Union had been warning for some years that Telstra¹s savage staff cuts would eventually hit consumers.
"Telstra's programme of staff reductions, budget cuts and outsourcing is proving disastrous for people who rely on their telephones," McCarthy says.
"Now management appear to have the very tragic death of 10 year old Sam Boulding on their conscience. Sam¹s parents have every right to blame Telstra's senior managers and to seek an explanation so that the lives of other people are protected during an emergency. Without a phone people in the country are reduced to 18th century communications.
"This problem is particularly acute in rural areas where many technical staff have been forced to cover extremely short staffing by massively increased overtime. It's therefore thoroughly duplicitous of Telstra to offer the weak excuse, which I've seen in media reports, that the company couldn't afford the overtime required to fix the Boulding's phone. In 2002, because of staff shortages, this business is thriving on excessive overtime to the cost of many of our members' health and lifestyle.
"Yet quite incredibly, Telstra plans to get rid of another 10,000 workers this year.
"Many Telstra employees worked their guts out during the recent bushfires even thought their own homes were threatened at times and they were unable to be with their families at a time of crisis.
"To add insult to injury Telstra recently announced that they were to trial new maintenance arrangements using private contractors. This move would have placed thousands more Telstra jobs at risk.
"This is not the way to say thanks for the magnificent effort these technicians put in during the recent bushfire crisis. "
The Union has warned Telstra management that unless steps were taken urgently fault delays would blow out even further and simply moving the dwindling number of technical staff around the country would be no long term fix.
"We understand that hundreds of technicians have been moved into NSW from Victoria, Queensland and South Australia in an attempt to reduce service delays. This in turn has left those states short staffed and vulnerable to service delays and there is evidence emerging that this is already happening," McCarthy says.
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