||Issue No. 329||20 October 2006|
Sucking the Oranges
Interview: Cowboys and Indians
Industrial: Seven Deadly Sins
Unions: The IT Factor
Politics: Bargain Basement
Environment: An Inconvenient Hoax
Corporate: Two Sides
International: Unfair Dismissals
History: A Stitch in Time
Review: The Wind that Shakes the Barley
Super Shafting at Telstra
1800 Telstra staff who are currently members of the Commonwealth Superannuation Scheme (CSS) face an uncertain future once the Government sells its remaining shares in the company, despite years of loyal service.
Once the fire sale is complete, Telstra employees who are members of the CSS will cease to be 'eligible employees' for the purposes of the Superannuation Act 1976 and will no longer be able to contribute to the CSS.
Employer super contributions will be slashed in some cases by nearly ten percent, reducing pensions or the loss of tens of thousands of dollars for those electing to receive a lump sum payment upon retirement.
Finance Minister Nick Minchin had previously stated that "superannuation conditions (for employees) would continue once the company was sold by the Government."
However the Government refused to support Opposition legislation that would have guaranteed existing super conditions for employees through transitionary arrangements.
For their part, Telstra is refusing to compensate any lost contributions or set up an alternate scheme that would mirror CSS conditions.
In a situation that illustrates the poisonous relationship between the Government and Telstra management, both are blaming each other for the super stuff-up.
An ACTU legal team is now examining the options available to the workers and is seeking talks with the company and major shareholder.
CPSU National Secretary Stephen Jones has called for Telstra and the Government to work with unions to sort the mess out.
"Both Telstra and the Government are trying to wash their hands of these loyal employees. This is no reward for years of service," he said.
"As for the Government, they have a clear responsibility to honour the commitments they have publicly made to these workers. Maybe Nick Michin might consider how he would feel if someone tried to cut his generous superannuation package," Jones said.
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