The NBN Technician Strike Isn’t Over

The NBN Technician Strike Isn’t Over
Image: iStock

On Monday NBN technicians across Australia walked off the job to protest pay cuts and treatment. It has now been confirmed that some of these workers are still protesting.

Some NBN technicians stopped working on Monday after a meeting with the Communications Union (CEPU). A convoy of at least 100 workers then protested outside of NBN’s offices in North Sydney.

The protest was in regards to recent pay cuts as well as poor treatment and issues with the app used to make job bookings.

Another significant factor mentioned by CEPU National President, Shane Murphy, was the use of a  ‘pyramid contracting model’ for fulfilling jobs.

“NBN contracts work to their ‘delivery partners’ who then sub-contract that work to their ‘principle contractors’ who then either subcontract it again, or hire low paid, under skilled workers to complete a job they haven’t been properly trained to perform.”

In a statement to Gizmodo Australia, NBN Co said that its arrangement with delivery partners are standard practice and that the partners 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.”

NBN Protests continue today

It seems that NBN Co’s perspective on delivery partner’s may have struck a cord somewhere.

CEPU has confirmed with Gizmodo Australia that protests continue today and that over 100 technicians are protesting outside the NBN Co Delivery Partners Centre.

This is “part of ongoing industrial action over cuts to their pay rates, a debacle causing chaos in job bookings and scheduling, pyramid sham contracting arrangements and overall poor treatment,” a CEPU representative said.

Murphy confirmed this protest, saying that technicians are taking the fight to the delivery partners.

“These companies are one of the multiple layers in the NBN Co’s pyramid contracting model and the Delivery Partners play a key role in forcing pay rates down so they can skim their own profit from the tax-payer funded project,” Murphy said in a statement.

The CEPU has confirmed with Gizmodo Australia that while talks have commenced with NBN Co, a resolution is yet to be met. It’s not yet clear what that could mean in the days and weeks ahead.

The CEPU also told Gizmodo Australia on Monday that it would not rule out taking further action, a slice of which we have seen today.

“The NBN rollout has been plagued with issues from day one, and workers won’t put up with it any longer,” Murphy said.

Meanwhile, earlier today NBN Co announced a huge suite of new suburbs and towns that will now be able to access its big fibre upgrade.

Interesting timing on that announcement, no?