||Issue No. 301||31 March 2006|
Interview: Organising In Cyberspace
Industrial: How Low Is Low
Industrial: Cloak and Dagger
Unions: Bad Medicine
History: Right Turn, Clyde
Economics: Long Division
International: Union Proud
Politics: Howardís Sick Joke
Indigenous: The year of living dangerously
Review: Lights, Camera, Strike!
Culture: News Front
The Locker Room
The Earl Speaks
Let Us Rejoice
Telstra's Townsville Shocker
Staff reported one woman, later treated in hospital, was left doubled up in pain for half an hour after a power surge hit the corporation's River Quays building in Townsville.
Telstra call centres have been plagued by acoustic shock strikes that leave telephonists in agony and, in some cases, with debilitating hearing and balance problems.
Workers at Newcastle and Maroochydore call centres have been affected but the most infamous case happened more than two years ago at Chernside, Brisbane, when around a dozen ambulances were dispatched to the workplace.
One of the worst affected people at Chernside still hasn't had her compensation claim dealt with and CPSU official, Paul Girdler, says that is the essence of the problem.
"Fourteen people were treated at the scene, last week, and at least 11 were taken to Townsville Hospital but, the truth is, nobody would probably know if our job delegate hadn't just become a union organiser," Girdler said.
"Acoustic shock is a real problem but prevention is severely hampered by Telstra policies of secrecy and contesting responsibility.
"Telstra's whole approach to the problem of acoustic shock is to try and cover it up.
"They seem to feel that if nobody knows, or they deny responsibility, then they have a safe workplace.
"Telstra brought in the lawyers and fought Chernside claims all the way."
Last week's incident was not the first at Townsville.
A River Quays worker put in a compensation claim after receiving an acoustic shock, last April. The corporation is still contesting that case.
Workers Online understands that after last week's shock wave, workers were back on the phones within 24 hours, with one exeption - the line used by the person injured last April.
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