Six hundred NBN technicians across the country will be walking off the job on Wednesday to call for Federal Government to create a Parliamentary Inquiry into NBN issues. Here’s what you need to know about the NBN protest
This story was first published on May 11 and 7:01pm.
Why NBN technicians are protesting
Last week hundreds of NBN workers walked off the job due to subcontractor pay cuts, the job booking app used by NBN Co as well as the sub-contracting arrangements themselves.
Just one day after the first protest last week NBN Co announced a large list of new suburbs and towns to receive fibre NBN upgrades.
These protests will continue on Wednesday as 600 technicians walk off the job again as part of a National Day of Action.
What the union has to say
The Communications Union (CEPU) has referred to the current employment of sub-contractors for the NBN as a “government-endorsed pyramid scheme.”
“You have senior employees on top salaries and multi-million dollar bonuses while workers are squeezed for pay and conditions at the other end and service suffers,” CEPU National President Shane Murphy said in a press release.
“We need an independent inquiry to get to the bottom of the dodgy dealings in the NBN rollout, how workers have been treated unfairly and how customer service has been impacted.”
One of the key pain points the CEPU points out is the contracting model. This involves NBN Co contracting work to ‘delivery partners’ who then subcontract jobs to a ‘prime’ who then sub-contracts again
“Everyone in the chain takes their cut, leaving workers’ pay squeezed and the taxpayer to foot the bill,” Murphy said.
“NBN Co needs to scrap their dodgy pyramid contracting model, improve pay rates and ditch the shonky Uber-style job booking app.”
NBN Co’s response so far
Last week NBN Co told Gizmodo Australia that its relationship with delivery partners is standard industry practice. It stated that its these partners that are responsible for contractors.
“Our construction and maintenance contracts place responsibility for compliance with the law and relevant legislation on our delivery partners in relation to the contracted services,” NBN Co said to Gizmodo Australia.
“Delivery partners are free to use their own employees or sub-contractors when fulfilling the work and maintenance outlined in our contracts with them.”
At the time, the CEPU told Gizmodo Australia that it was in talks with NBN Co but that it wouldn’t rule out further action.
Considering that 600 workers intend on walking off the job again tomorrow, one can imagine how those talks are going so far.
Where the NBN protests are taking place
The protests are taking place across four states on Wednesday May 12:
VICTORIA, 8:00AM: Flagstaff Gardens, La Trobe & Williams St, Melbourne, VIC
NSW 8:30AM: 100 Mount St, North Sydney (outside NBN), NSW,
SA 7:30AM: Adelaide Showgrounds, Rose Terrace Carpark, Wayville, SA
QLD 8:00AM: Cannon Hill Rugby Club, Wynnum Road, Cannon Hill, QLD