The Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union of Australia has suspended its ongoing industrial action against Telstra as the telco once again looks to negotiate terms.
The union (CEPU) has asked its members that work for Telstra to suspend their participation in ongoing actions effective tomorrow 25 April.
The actions include indefinite bans on performance of essential customer service work, emergency work, additional hours and overtime, and accepting stock or equipment at homes.
“We are encouraged by recent correspondence with Telstra, who have indicated a willingness to return to the bargaining table, and have moved to withdraw our indefinite actions to demonstrate good faith in our desire to get back to the table,” CEPU divisional president Shane Murphy said.
“It has been a difficult and hard-fought campaign so far, but this breakthrough has been achieved through your commendable determination to have your voices heard.
“We’re looking forward to getting on with talks to wrap up a new EBA that delivers the fairness our members and their families rely upon, and deserve.”
A Telstra spokesperson confirmed with CRN that the telco is looking to recommence talks.
“We have invited our unions to a meeting to seek to resolve the current impasse in bargaining," the spokesperson told CRN.
"This will be arranged as soon as practicable. We remain committed to bargaining in good faith for a new agreement that meets the needs of our business, employees and shareholders.”
However the Union has not called off all protests. One-hour work stoppages from 7 am to 8 am are still on the agenda for April 24, 26, 29 and 30, while work bans for members working at Telstra’s Global Operations Centre in Melbourne remain scheduled for April 24 and 26 April 2019.
CEPU divisional secretary Greg Rayner said while the breakthrough was promising, the Union was not “across the line yet”.
“Telstra have made the right call by workers and customers in indicating their willingness to return to the bargaining table,” Rayner said.
“In good faith, we have taken steps to enable this to occur by suspending our ongoing indefinite action.
Rayner added there are several outstanding matters that need to be addressed, but said getting regular and genuine talks back on track is the Union's current focus.
The CEPU also asked its members to prepare for a similar form of industrial action in case talks break down again.
Updated 24 April 11:39 am: added comments from a Telstra spokesperson.