Telecom avoids union "legal showdown"

A threatened "legal showdown" against Telecom concerning union recognition has been called off

A THREATENED “legal showdown” against Telecom concerning union recognition has been called off.

The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union (EPMU) was preparing to take the telco before the Employment Court, claiming in its December issue of Metal magazine that Telecom had “refused to come to the table and discuss a range of collective agreements”.

However, EPMU telecomms organiser Dave Munro says since the Christmas holidays “the clock has gone back a few seconds” from court action.

Telecom recently told its several thousand staff that the union is seeking members and is preparing to bargain for them. However, Munro says it is “a problem” that Telecom is giving him three staff to deal with when he would prefer a single point of contact.

Telecom spokesman Andrew Bristol says the telco is talking to the union on “procedural and preliminary matters before bargaining starts, such as where we meet and when”.

“We have done everything that the union has asked us to do,” says Bristol. “There is no need for court. The ball is now in the union’s court.”

Under the Employment Relations Act, companies must notify staff when unions initiate bargaining in case any want to join, after which companies must negotiate with the union.

Elsewhere in the telecommunications industry the EPMU reports “good and reasonable progress”, with talks concerning collective agreements at Alstom, negotiations at Downers should see collective agreements this year and a meeting on union matters at Cabletalk is due on February 8, Munro says.

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