Visionstream now has 70% of ‘wanted’ field staff; sugars deal for hold-outs
Amid strikes, the broadband ban, Carter-gate and Salary-gate, Telecom’s new contractor is apparently closing in on its target number to sign owner/operator contracts - in part thanks to a series of sweeteners.
Last night a Telecom spokesman said “Visionstream has now signed up more than 70% of their field workers. That’s what I call progress.” His comments were backed by a letter from Visionstream’s New Zealand country manager, Andrew Stevens.
And by both company’s unquantified goals, it is progress.
On August 18, Visionstream said 50% of field staff had signed.
The new contractor still refuses to say how many of the 900 displaced Downer Edi and Tranfield staff it needs to signed its new owner/operator contracts.
The EPMU claims that Visionstream said it could do the same work as Downer and Transfield in Auckland for 70% of the cost, and that its required contractor numbers and rates will reflect that target.
A spokesman for Visionstream last night said the company was not trying to make lines engineers insecure and more ready to sign by refusing to reveal its target number of hires. Revealing a specific target number of owner/operators by its October 1 deadline would be more likely to have that affect, the company says.
In a statement last night Visionstream’s Mr Stevens said suggestions the owner/operator model would see workers’ incomes halved were “well wide of the mark”.
“Our rates have been calculated so that field staff maintaining a level of output in line with the current industry average can expect to maintain a similar level of income, and those with good productivity levels can achieve a significantly higher income,” he said.
Mr Stevens said Telecom’s Chorus division had commissioned Deloitte to independently analyse its rates, and found them comparable to contractors working for other providers.
While the EPMU has relentlessly referred to Visionstream’s “one-year” contracts, Mr Stevens says the agreement being offered is for three years.
It's not clear if political pressure has come into play, as Labour alleges, or if Telecom has given Visionstream and wiggle room - or otherwise encouraged it to sort things out.
But is is now clear that Visionstream has sugared several elements of its original offer. In a letter to lines engineers still considering the owner/operator terms, dated August 19, Mr Stevens adds a number of new clauses to sugar the deal, they are:
“Based on feedback received regarding the pricing of rates, we have made some amendments to further benefit the owner operator."
Visionstream intends to continue its characteristic to pay on time. However, to add further protection to the owner operator, a new clause has been inserted requiring Visionstream to pay interest if our payments to owner operators are late.
"As an added benefit to owner operators, a new clause has been included to the Contract which formalises fixed prices for materials when you purchase them from Visionstream or our nominated supplier over twelve monthly periods."
Contractor Intellectual Property
"A clause has been amended to clearly identify and protect any Intellectual Property that the owner operator brings to the Contract or develops in their own right during the term of the Contract."
Selling your business
In the event that the owner operator wishes to sell their business, a clause has been
amended in the Contract stating that Visionstream will not unreasonably withhold approval for assignment.