Labor facing union backlash over NBN delays


Delays in the rollout of the national broadband netork have exposed the Labor government to a union backlash, with the Communications Electrical and Plumbing Union warning of "unacceptable" labour rates to meet cost targets, The Australian reports.

According to the newspaper, the CEPU's Communications Workers Union division believes there are "fundamental" problems, both commercial and and operational, with the NBN and expects it will be revised, regardless of the outcome of September's election.  

"The CWU has for many years supported the policy objective of creating a national broadband network capable of delivering modern services equitably to all Australians," the union said in a bulletin for members, The Australian reports.

"However, it cannot support an approach that creates uncertainty for the project's workers, whether employees or subcontractors, and that relies on unacceptable labour rates in order to meet cost targets."

Last week, NBN Co revised down its rollout targets by around three months, following a company board meeting.

The announcement was the first formal delay NBN Co has announced about the rollout. 

The company said the delay in its fibre-passed-the-premise target outlined in its corporate plan was due to the fact that work on the ground for the rollout was progressing at a slower rate than it initially forecast.