Up to 800 Melbourne Telstra workers took part in a strike over pay and staff cuts today, cutting off access to a T-Life shop and vowing to continue action across the country.
The protests began at 10AM at the Victorian Trades Hall Council from where an estimated 500 workers marched to the Telstra’s Bourke street T-Life Shop and were reportedly joined by hundreds more for industrial meeting.
Greens candidate Adam Bandt and Electrical Trades Union state secretary Dean Mighell threw their support behind the strikers, while Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union communications division president Len Cooper also spoke.
“It was a terrific turnout today with about 600-800 at the meeting,” Cooper said. “We blocked-off access to the Telstra shop.”
The action is part of a union push for higher pay rates for Telstra staff. Under the enterprise agreement, the final pay offer remains at 2 per cent for one year, and 8 per cent split over two years, according to Cooper. Workers also rallied to oppose slated job cuts in Telstra (ASX:TLS) which plans to axe about 900 staff from next year.
A Telstra spokesman said “there were only about 200 staff involved in the action” which “has had almost zero customer impact”.
“We have recently paid eligible employees a 2 per cent pay increase and the 2.5 per cent cash bonus. We believe that the final offer put forward by Telstra is fair and reasonable.”
The spokesman said Telstra is awaiting union response to its “final pay offer” that was made on 17 March.