[Sydney, AUSTRALIA] A Telstra exchange mainframe has been barred as a restricted area, due to unhygienic conditions, according to the Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union (CEPU). The union claimed to have received complaints of rat and cockroach infestation, decaying food scraps and uncleaned toilets.
“I’d suggest this was a problem across most Telstra exchanges,” said the CEPU’s Mal Tulloch, who has even received a video made by one exchange worker, starring none other than a Telstra Exchange rat. “Rat feces are piling up above the mainframe, and dripping through to areas where people work.”
Tulloch said Telstra’s outsourcing of cleaning duties in an attempt to cut costs has made the situation inevitable. “They’re motivated purely by profit and the result has been poor cleaning over three years,” he claimed.
But if Tulloch’s assessment of the situation is correct, the problem could extend beyond the threat to occupational health and safety. “If there’s one thing rats like its gnawing on plastic insulation,” said a former Optus employee, who had worked in Telstra exchanges, “copper is soft, a rat could eat through the wires as easily as we would eat a nut in a cake.”
Telstra has made no response to CEPU’s complaints. “They don’t even acknowledge our existence sometimes,” said Tulloch.