On June 25th 2009 Telecom announced it was ending its network engineering contract with Transfield and Downer EDI for the Auckland and Northland regions and instead providing the contracts to Visonstream.

Because of this change 700 lines engineers are now facing redundancy and are being told by Visionstream that they will only get work if they transfer as dependent contractors to Visionstream.

This would mean these workers would have to front up with up to $60,000 to buy their own vans and equipment, set up limited liability companies and take on the financial risks associated with the industry. They'd also face a drop in income of up to 66%, have no negotiating power and be left with no employment rights.*

The EPMU has more than 500 members who are affected by this change. And they are fighting back - currently Visionstream needs these workers to agree to their terms by October the first. If they don't Visionstream won't have the capacity to fulfil its contract.

That's why our members are saying "NO" to Visionstream. But with redundancy looming saying no is going to get a lot harder. That's why we are calling on the public to support these workers by donating money and food to get them through the next couple of months.

Because if Telecom and Visionstream successfully strip these workers of their rights and successfully attack their incomes, this way of treating workers will spread.

It's time for every working Kiwi to say "NO" to this kind of corporate greed.

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*An independent analysis of earnings under Visionstream's contract is available here [18kb PDF] and an independent analysis of the consequences of the contract is available here [3MB PDF]