Computer glitch robs Telstra staff of bonuses

Performance monitoring system dolls-out cash at random.

Telstra will reimburse 1000 call centre staff who were denied pay incentives because of a glitch in the telcos' performance monitoring system.

High performing call centre staff have had bonuses withdrawn due to a nine-month old fault which misdirected inbound calls and over-reported unproductive time.

The Community and Public Sector Union (PSUN) initially believed pay cuts of up to 30 per cent were being dealt to staff as a result of the fault.

However, Telstra refuted the claim and said the error affected its financial incentive scheme and incorrectly withdrew and awarded bonuses to call centre staff.

Telstra spokesman Peter Taylor said it will begin reimbursing affected inbound sales staff from next week.

"This issue was caused by a call tracking error impacting some call centre staff that have either been overpaid or underpaid as a result," Taylor said.

"Telstra has been keeping employees informed of the situation throughout the review process since we first noticed these inconsistencies late last year.

"Telstra will also add an interest payment to any money owed to employees [and] we have no intention of recovering the money from employees who may have been overpaid." Telstra will fork out about $27 for each week for 1000 employees.

A fix for the tracking error will be implemented next week.

The PSUN's national secretary, Stephen Jones, said the fault meant staff across 13 call centres were incorrectly penalized since June last year.

"Telstra's failure to fix this technical problem means call centre staff are being put under enormous financial pressure. Some have defaulted on their mortgages," Jones said.

"The highest performing staff are being put on notice because the system says their work rate is not up to scratch."

Taylor said the PSUN was "severely exaggerating" the fault and said baseline pays have not been affected.

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Darren Pauli

Computerworld

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