Are Telstra’s non-union ballots fair?
Telstra’s industrial relations strategy is under a cloud after the Australian Electoral Commission cast fresh doubt on the validity of non-union workplace ballots conducted by the company. In light of the findings by the AEC, unions are calling on management to withdraw from its strategy of non-union employee agreements. In response to earlier concerns raised by the ACTU, the federal Electoral Commissioner, Ed Killesteyn, has confirmed that ballots conducted at Telstra did not meet the AEC’s minimum standards to ensure ‘free and fair’ elections. Specifically, there was no process for independent scrutiny of the results. Unions have long had concerns about the conduct of ballots for non-union deals and pressure being placed upon small groups of Telstra staff to vote in favour of them. Among the concerns are that Telstra refuses to release the results of the ballots, does not allow independent scrutiny of counting, and will not disclose the number of people eligible to vote. By contrast,