8 Nov 2009

Dispute between Telecom, lines engineers resolved

10:50 am on 8 November 2009

Telecom says a contract dispute between its contractor Visionstream and line engineers in Northland is over.

Visionstream had been in a stand-off with about 40 line engineers who refused to become self-employed contractors after they were laid off by Transfield and Downer EDI.

Both sides say the dispute is resolved for the time being.

Visionstream, which works for Telecom's network arm Chorus, was forced to employ the engineers on temporary contracts to fix a backlog of phone faults in the area in October.

Telecom chief executive Paul Reynolds says the engineers are working extremely effectively and the dispute has not derailed Chorus in any way from getting on with improving Telecom's broadband infrastructure.

A spokesperson for the the Engineering, Manufacturing and Printing Union agrees the problems between the parties have ended and says a third contractor is now being sought to employ the line workers permanently.

Joe Gallagher says neither Telecom nor the lines engineers can claim outright victory, but self-employment is off the agenda.