NBN technicians walk off the job

NBN technicians around the country have walked off the job over work conditions including claims of pay cuts.

The Communications Electrical Plumbing Union said 200 of its members met in Sydney’s west on Monday and voted to take immediate industrial action, with others dialling in from around the country.

CEPU National President Shane Murphy said the members cited ongoing issues with the NBN, pay cuts and a ‘”shambolic” dispatch system as the source of their frustrations.

Mr Murphy said NBN’s contracting arrangements had left subcontractors out of pocket.

“It comes on top of $77 million worth of bonuses paid (to NBN executives) at the same time they’ve got their delivery partners cutting the pay rates of contractors, having a dispatch system that’s delaying contractors from servicing their customers which affects the amount of jobs they’re doing and their take home pay,” Mr Murphy told AAP.

He expects well over half of the technicians who sub-contract to the NBN to take part in the action across the country, with around 500 technicians supporting it.

“The numbers are continually growing by the minute, as (sub-contractors) become more aware of the action taken by the majority of their mates,” he said.

“These small business owners simply can’t afford to go to work. It’s an appalling situation in particular on a government project and there needs to be an inquiry by the parliament.”

Technicians cancelled appointments across the country on Monday and want to meet with NBN Co management, he said.

There are between 600 to 800 technicians working for the NBN across the country but it’s unclear how many have walked off the job and when they will return to work.

NBN Co has been contacted for comment.

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