Telstra bosses are bastards

The Sydney Morning Herald summed it up perfectly.

TELSTRA has devised a secret union-busting strategy to save $50 million in labour costs over the next three years – just enough to pay the chief executive, Sol Trujillo, and his senior executive “amigos” for one year.

This type of corporate behaviour is really disgusting, and hiding behind the excuse of ‘The shareholders made me do it’ simply isn’t good enough. I realise that the era of a job for life is long behind us, but I will not accept that this means employees have become nothing more than a cost input, which should be battered down to the lowest possible level.

What’s especially appalling is the enormous growth in senior executive salaries at the same time as this concerted effort is being made to screw everyone else. And let’s not even start on the ‘golden parachutes’ that these bastards receive when it becomes apparent that they can’t do their job properly.

Let’s compare these ‘captains of industry’ with our elected leaders, who also cop a lot of flack when it comes time to negotiate with a big group of employees, like teachers or nurses. In NSW a Senior Minister makes $244,000 a year, a very nice wage, but an incredibly difficult and important job. If you took the Education Minister’s salary and redistributed it, it’d pay for three teachers, plus some change, so it doesn’t seem to be an unreasonable remuneration for the task they are given. Sol Trujillo made $13.4 million dollars last year, that’d buy you 335 Telstra Shop Customer Service people. Personally, I think that’s obscene.

When a minister makes a decision about pay rates for their department they do so knowing that the money has to come from taxpayers, so there is a balancing act between costs and services. When a corporate executive decides to cut staffing costs it’s done purely to increase the amount of money that shareholders, themselves included, receive at dividend time.

So next time you have to deal with a late or surly Telstra employee, give them a break, they’re being screwed by a boss who can’t see the hypocrisy of his own executive remuneration.

15 thoughts on “Telstra bosses are bastards

  1. Personally, Dave, the crux of the matter is that the “workers” have no way of collectively correcting the imbalance.

    The reason for that (and I used to be a shop stewart, mind you, in my public service days) is that the unions wasted opportunities by listening to the member’s demand to respect the mantra that “greed is good”. The roles have been reversed with the workers rowing too far up the creek beginning around 20 years ago.

    They’re on the “down” cycle at the moment. Give it time and the “up” cycle will probably return so the workers can once again force their snouts in the trough.

    Oh, how I wish we would all wake up and support a happy balancing act where we all benefit, instead of just one side.

  2. So true jr.

    I also think that the corporate world has pulled off one of the biggest scams of all times by convincing white collar workers that they didn’t need to join a union, because the brand new shiny HR department would look after them. Collectivism has all but been erased from the workplace and we are all poorer for it.

  3. This type of corporate behavior is not restricted to huge corporations – it is reflected throughout the whole corporate world including the local coffee shop.

    In yesterdays “Chronicle”, Mark and Belinda Sorrensen, owners of Café Martini, are quoted thus:

    “Award wages and the abandonment of Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs) have made our task much more difficult,” Mrs Sorrensen said.

    “AWAs offered far more flexibility, especially for businesses that don’t operate from nine to five. “So we’re employing fewer people, and working harder ourselves.”

    “The hospitality industry, by definition, does most of its trade at nights and the weekend, so we are obliged to pay penalty rates whenever we’re open,” he said.

    “It’s like having to pay a diver extra to go under water.”


    It is a sickening attitude that, unless reversed, will keep our kids in the poorhouse.
    It seems to me that you have to be a bastard to be in business today

  4. Greg, you forgot to mention the Sorrensens have solved their ‘problem’ of having to “work harder” by employing Sophie Mirabella.

    It’s all very well for Sophie to support small business but I’m sure even she wouldn’t work for anything less than award wages.

    As for Sol, he epitomises everything that’s wrong about the corporate world. He and the CEOs of the banks. I believe there is a serious case to be made for ASIC to bring in limits on executive salaries. For the life of me I can’t see how any CEO is worth more than about $500,000 per year.

    I guess they’d get around it some how though.

  5. I’d like to see them find a diver who’d work for what they pay their staff, even with penalty rates. And what’s their problem with working harder themselves? It’s a matter of choice, it’s no-one else’s fault if their business is unsustainable without them working in it.

    Regarding high paid CEOs, I’ve seen a few articles lately that have claimed that companies with high profile ‘Rock-Star’ CEOs perform worse than comparatively sized competitors who have a low profile, lower paid, CEO. There are exceptions to this, Apple comes to mind, but as a rule flashy CEOs are being seen through at an increasing rate.

  6. Not supporting either side here, but as a shop stewart in the late eighties I was requested by union members to campaign for penalty rates to off-set having to work with a chemical concoction called “Blue 7” used to eradicate dry rot in wooden poles below ground level.

    The general members’ opinion was that this compound (loaded with ammonia) was dangerous and that extra pay would make it bearable. So when I suggested that a far more important priority should be personal safety and consequently, any additional (Blue 7) wage gains should be passed onto the chemical company to improve the offending compound’s safety, was I howled down!

    Oh, no, can’t have that! It’ll be OK to use if we get the extra money. Stupid bastards.

  7. You know, I copied that Wang Chron article last night (and the ‘stunning’ photo of Sophie serving a table!) and I was going to do a post on it.

    That statement “It’s like having to pay a diver extra to go under water” was the one that really got me. Well, that and the one about the poor buggers having to “work harder”.

    The obvious answer to it is, “Well yes, you DO have to pay a diver ‘extra’ (meaning more than average wages) to put his life in danger and dive under water.”

    It’s almost worthy of a ‘Wah like’ rant where he lists equally absurd comparison statements such as:

    “It’s like having to pay a pilot extra to fly a plane”

    “It’s like having to pay a brain surgeon extra to remove your tumor”

    “It’s like having to pay a plumber extra to put his hands down your sewer”

    And so on. Anyone got some more “Sorrenson comparisons”?

  8. Mark and Belinda Sorrensen, “It’s like us having to pay extra to ANYONE so we can have some quiet time @ our condo on the Gold Coast”.

  9. Well, the BM just left out the owner’s self-serving and atrocious remarks by the look of it, Greg. Strange to see the Wang Chron actually give a more accurate report for once! Btw, Sophie DID effectively endorse them by referring to AWAs as being a better system.

  10. Ray, Sophie DID NOT effectively endorse them by referring to AWAs as being a better system in the online Chronicle article. I have not seen the print version so cannot comment further.

  11. Well you’re right, Greg, the words endorsing AWAs, which Sophie clearly endorses too, were attributed to Sorrensen. Not a lot of difference.

  12. Let’s not forget that Sophie has publicly backed the retrograde IR stances put forth by Bruck Textiles in Wangaratta in the past. I don’t think that it’s too much of a stretch to think that Sophie supports the comments of these people, given that they have been chosen as a PR prop for her.

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