Around 55 technicians working on the Telstra copper network connecting and maintaining the national broadband network were sacked on the spot on Friday, the CEPU said.
Trilogie Resourcing, a labour-hire shell company with ownership connections to NBN and Telstra-based training provider, Celemetrix told workers from Port Macquarie, Newcastle Hunter, Greater Sydney and ACT regions that the company was folding.
CEPU NSW/ACT branch secretary Shane Murphy, said the news is a devastating blow and is further proof “the NBN pyramid contracting structure is not working.”
“These workers were called to a meeting, told they no longer have a job, then ushered over to a storage facility where they had to hand over their phones, car keys and other items and then shoved into taxis and sent home,” Murphy said.
“Workers are currently heading home to tell their families they no longer have a job to pay the bills. It’s a devastating position to be in. These are a mixture of younger workers, mature-aged workers and workers living with disability. This company has turfed them out with no regard to their future.”
Murphy said the CEPU will be everything to ensure these workers receive all their entitlements and is engaging with other industry employers to try and find them work elsewhere.
The CEPU claimed the sackings are a result of the failed, ‘sham’ pyramid contracting scheme employed by Telstra and its contracting partners.
“The federal government and NBN Co are turning a blind eye to these dodgy employment set-ups. This company has been the subject of a number of worker complaints including the failure to provide adequate training, unlawful withholding of overtime payments and unfair dismissals,” Murphy said.
“NBN Co an the federal government know the way contractors are operating but they don’t seem to care. They’ve got a lot to answer for.”
Murphy said the job losses are devastating blow for the workers and their families in the predominantly regional areas they work in as well as the residents and business struggling to have their NBN services connected and outstanding faults repaired.
“The NBN contracting pyramid is seriously flawed. Industry skills are disappearing; wages are dropping and workers are being left vulnerable. These 80 workers are the faces of a system that is simply not working,” Murphy said.