26 Aug 2009

Visionstream 'on track' to recruit telco engineers

6:25 pm on 26 August 2009

The Australian company trying to sign up Telecom engineers says it is on track to meet staffing recruitment targets in time to take up its new contract.

Visionstream is entering a deal with Telecom to fix and install phone and broadband lines in Northland and Auckland and wants the workers to become owner-operators.

Companies contracted by Telecom's network arm, Chorus, want to turn lines engineers into owner-operators.

Up to 1000 workers from throughout New Zealand mounted protest action this week against the plans.

But Visionstream New Zealand manager Andrew Stevens told Checkpoint on Wednesday he now has about 70% of frontline staff required and is confident of being fully staffed by 1 October.

Mr Stevens says the owner-operator model is successful overseas and is a sustainable option in the long-term.

Maritime Union supports telco workers

The Maritime Union is threatening to disrupt incoming Telecom cargo to support striking telcommunications workers.

The union fears a precendent will be set if Telecom wins the dispute.

General secretary Trevor Hanson says telco workers are under pressure to buy their own equipment and become contractors.

He says they will be in strife if they then lose the work to a cheaper contractor.

Mr Hanson says the union's support could disrupt Telecom's broadband rollout as he understands the cables are currently arriving by ship.

The Maritime Union has also given $10,000 to a fund for the telco workers. It is also calling on the International Transport Federation to throw its weight behind opposing Telecom's plans.