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Chorus receives assurance from service company partners

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Chorus has sought and received confirmation from its service company partners working on the fibre programme that all health and safety and employment standards are being rigorously enforced and checked.

The assurance was sought following claims in the media that technicians working on Chorus’ fibre programme were not being paid correctly or receiving the appropriate health and safety training.

All service company contracts with Chorus contain detailed health and safety and competency requirements that must be adhered to, and the law complied with.

"Chorus has been assured by its service companies that all employees and subcontractors are appropriately employed and adhere to health and safety standards," said Chorus Network and Field GM Ed Beattie.

"Technicians must undergo induction training, including health and safety, before conducting any work on behalf of Chorus. Regular spot checks are also undertaken to ensure compliance.

"In the event of employment disputes, service companies offer dispute resolution channels, and when inappropriate arrangements have been made known, immediate action has been taken.

"We have always made it very clear to all of our service companies that they must comply with law.

"Chorus has thousands of people working in the field rolling out the fibre programme and the claims raised in the media are not reflective of the wider industry. However, we are constantly refining our framework for working with our contractors to ensure the best outcomes that we can."

The subcontractor model is common across virtually all infrastructure and construction projects, and is the model used in electricity, construction and by other telecommunications companies.

Visionstream

Visionstream NZ General Manager Andrew Todd says:

"We expect subcontractors to adhere to the conditions of their contract and our own high company standards and all employment law requirements.

"Before working with Visionstream, all contractors must complete health and safety, induction risk management and critical risk awareness training. The training is designed to keep our employees, subcontractors and the community safe, and provide them with the skills to ensure a high quality standard."

Universal Communications Group (UCG)

UCG General Manager Operations, New Zealand, Paul Trotman:

"We can confirm there is no unpaid labour being used within the UCG workforce, or on the Chorus network, nor is it allowed to be. We maintain our approach to managing our subcontractor workforce in ensuring that our contractual requirements on them to obey all New Zealand laws and regulations is enforced and maintained.

"We have an induction process which includes both safety and operational components, designed to ensure that technicians are well informed and understand the safety fundamentals and the basic operational requirements of being a fibre technician. No one can work for us as a fibre technician without being inducted.

"There are a number of competencies that we require of technicians, based on a combination of Chorus and UCG quality and safety needs. We have a training team that provides some of this training directly, or we facilitate the process on behalf of the contractors through our relationships with training providers.

"Our Field Management team who support the technicians are also tasked with providing on-the-job coaching and mentoring for technicians to ensure we achieve high standards of productivity, quality and customer experience in a safe environment.

"UCG has reporting systems in place to monitor that our contractors, who ultimately have accountability for ensuring their people are trained and qualified in accordance with our requirements and the laws of New Zealand, are compliant to those requirements."

Broadspectrum

Broadspectrum Contract Manager, Telecommunications and Construction, Matthew Scott:

"All Broadspectrum employees and subcontractors are required to have the appropriate Worker Training Competencies (WTCs) which include the required health and safety standards and minimum qualifications and skills before starting work.

"Additionally, employees receive the appropriate training depending on their baseline ability and their scope of works.

"All resources deployed into Broadspectrum’s workforce meet the basic health and safety and WTC standards. Our suppliers, just as our own employees, are mandatorily required to comply with our Code of Business Conduct, which includes stringent high standards for work and professional behaviour and respect for human rights.

"Broadspectrum has not knowingly employed volunteer labour either directly or indirectly, and does not and will not engage in such or similar practices for any of its contracts."

Downer

Downer General Manager Operations and Maintenance, New Zealand, Jude Viliua:

"Downer is confident that all of its employees and subcontractors are appropriately engaged and that they adhere to the health and safety standards required by Downer.

"Downer only uses a minimal number of subcontractors in the provision of maintenance services and provides the communal UFB build through a primarily self-performed service delivery model to Chorus.

"Those subcontractors that are used are required by contract to comply with all relevant laws including employment law and work health and safety legislation. If Downer became aware of any non-compliance in that regard, it would immediately address those with its subcontractor.

"To date, Downer is not aware of any such issues with its subcontractors. Downer have a thorough on-boarding process for sub-contractors, along with ongoing audits. Downer treat subcontractors like employees and involve them in toolbox meetings, safety behaviour conversations and site inspections just like we do for our own people.

"Downer has dispute resolution mechanisms and ‘speak up’ processes in both its subcontractor and employment agreements."

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