Sunday, July 20, 2008

Telstra 'used psychological profiling' in AWA push

The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) is accusing Telstra of unethical behaviour in the month before Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs) were scrapped earlier this year.

The Workplace Ombudsman has cleared Telstra of placing workers under duress to sign AWAs before they were banned in March.

But the ACTU says it has documents showing Telstra managers were urged to use psychological profiling of employees to convince them to sign AWAs.

ACTU secretary Jeff Lawrence says even though Telstra did not break any laws, its actions were still unacceptable.

"Ethically and morally it's clearly done something wrong," he said.

"It's used its considerable power as the employer and its status to put in place a program where lots and lots of moral pressure was applied.

"Moral and other pressure was applied to employees."

Telstra's director of Workplace Relations Darren Fewster has rejected to accusations and says the ACTU should accept the ombudsman's decision.

"Telstra provided our employees with a choice about the terms and conditions, and that's what the workplace ombudsman has found," he said.

"We think that acting ethically and morally involves telling employees the truth, allowing them to make a choice of their own decision and that's exactly what we've done, and that's what the workplace ombudsman has found as well."

Mr Fewster says Telstra regularly surveys its employees.

"We regularly survey our people.

"In terms of what the ACTU's saying, entirely, this was about ensuring that those employees understood what was on offer to them, and that they had a free choice in deciding their terms of conditions of employment."


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