Wednesday, 21 October 2020 19:32

Union takes aim at NBN Co chief over ‘outrageous’ salary amid job axings Featured

NBN Co CEO Stephen Rue NBN Co CEO Stephen Rue

National Broadband Network operator NBN Co has come under fire from the CEPU Communications Union for the “outrageous” salary of network chief Stephen Rue, after his axing of hundreds of jobs in the middle of a pandemic and while “overseeing a shonky” NBN network rollout.  

CEPU National Assistant Secretary James Perkins said, “it’s absolutely outrageous that NBN boss Stephen Rue is pocketing $3.1 million of taxpayer funds only to slash 800 jobs, and describing the salary as a “national disgrace”.

“It’s frankly unbelievable that Mr Rue can justify giving himself a $1.2 million bonus in the last financial year, only to then leave hundreds of Aussie workers without a job in the middle of a pandemic and a national unemployment crisis,” Perkins said.

“While other top business chief’s in Australia have taken pay cuts– Mr Rue somehow decided to give himself a $1.2 million bonus in the last financial year. It’s a national disgrace.”

The CEPU notes that the announcement to axe 800 jobs was made in July – with many of those job losses to impact on essential network design and construction jobs.

“We need the Federal Government to intervene and get the NBN right. The latest budget is supposedly all about jobs – so why are they not intervening to protect these vital jobs from the chopping block?,” Perkins questioned.

“Instead of throwing money into a Mr Rue’s exorbitant pay packet or even into the NBN’s currently broken system – the reality is that we need to invest this money into an effective employment model. What we have at the moment is a Government endorsed pyramid scheme.”

Perkins says NBN contracts work to their ‘delivery partners’ who then sub-contract that work to their ‘principle contractors’ who then either subcontract it again, or “hire low paid, under skilled workers to complete a job they haven’t been properly trained to perform”.

“It’s not the workers’ fault that they’re not being offered the training, pay or hours sufficient to get the job done. Nor is it the customer’s fault for being furious about delayed, failed and shonky installations,” he said.

“At each stage of the way, the ‘delivery partners’ get to wipe their hands clean of the mess they’ve made for customers, all the while pocketing cash and looking the other way. It’s a system that is clearly failing customers, it’s failing workers and it’s failing taxpayers.

“The only winners are these middlemen who sit back and rake in the profit with no accountability for the mess they create.

“We’re urging the Government to throw the current pyramid model in the bin and for replace it with a direct employment model like we see at Telstra.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - an iTWire treasure is a mentor and coach who volunteers also a writer and much valued founding partner of iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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