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Chorus suspends Clearvision from working on UFB network

Friday 31st May 2019

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Chorus has suspended subcontractor Clearvision Communications from working on its ultrafast broadband network after the Employment Relations Authority found several breaches of employment standards.  

“Given the authority’s determination and its reasoning, consistent with Chorus’ and its contractors’ commitment to ensuring that labour standards are upheld, Clearvision will be stood down from all Chorus UFB work," Chorus said in a statement. 

The case is one of four to be referred to the ERA after a Labour Inspectorate investigation uncovered widespread compliance issues. 

Chorus had previously suspended the other three companies referred to the ERA from having any involvement in the Chorus UFB programme prior to an ERA hearing, it said. 

The telecommunications firm contracts out most of the ultrafast broadband network construction to Visionstream, Downer, Broadspectrum and UCG.

The work is broken into two parts - building the actual infrastructure, and connecting households to that network. Visionstream and UCG have the connection contracts, and in turn, subcontract that work out to 365 smaller businesses. 

In April, Chorus announced plans to introduce a number of changes to its supply chain model in an effort to shore-up vulnerabilities exposed in a report by MartinJenkins. The consultancy was tasked with reviewing the practices after the Labour Inspectorate investigation.

MartinJenkins found the model was appropriate for the UFB build as it could rapidly draw on a migrant workforce to meet buoyant demand. However, the model also raised the risk of migrant exploitation, something not well understood by Chorus, Visionstream, or UCG. 

“The breach of employment standards is very disappointing. Chorus, Visionstream and UCG remain absolutely committed to doing everything we can to ensure all people are treated fairly and all sub-contractors remain compliant with employment law,” said Chorus general manager network field and management Andrew Carroll.

"Following the release of the report last month, Chorus, Visionstream and UCG committed to a wide range of actions aimed at creating consistently fair conditions, in line with employment laws, for all workers in the Chorus supply chain," it said. 

Chorus shares were recently at $5.78, up 1.6 percent today.

(BusinessDesk)

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