Optus in yet another major redundancy round



news The nation’s number two telco Optus has confirmed it has kicked off its third major redundancy round in just two years, with around 200 jobs reportedly at risk.

In a statement, the telco said: “Optus continually reviews its operations to ensure it has the right organisational structure in place to achieve its business goals, and we’ve been continuing to do so within the context of the business strategy we launched 18 months ago. Shortly we will be talking to our employees about some changes we’re making. Our priority is always to communicate the detail of any change directly with our employees and support those who might be affected.”

The telco would not comment on how many staff will be affected, but a number of media outlets have put the figure at around 200. Optus currently employs around 8,900 staff, according to the ABC.

The news represents the third time in two years that the telco has been known to be engaged in redundancy rounds. In May 2012 Optus revealed plans to sack some 750 staff, in a company-wide restructure which it claimed was aimed at giving customers “a stronger voice”. And in March 2013 the telco also engaged in another redundancy round, with some 290 staff losing their positions.

Optus’ cost-cutting moves have had a significant impact on its financials. In mid-February this year, Optus reported what it said were “strong financial results” for the quarter ended 31 December 2013 (PDF). Net profit and EBITDA rose 41 percent and 9 percent respectively, despite a 5 percent decline in revenue.

Kevin Russell, Country Chief Officer, Australia (who has since resigned) said at the time: “As we have said before, our focus at Optus is on delivering sustainable profit growth and making significant improvements in the experience we deliver for our customers. This quarter has seen great progress in both these areas. Optus will continue to differentiate its brand with new products and services that address real customer pain points, strengthen trust in the brand and deliver a market leading experience for our customers.

At the time, Optus noted that it had continued to invest in its mobile network (both its 3G and 4G infrastructure) as well as improving the online and in-store experience it was delivering for customers.

The news also comes as other major telcos in Australia are also engaged in cutting staff. Yesterday national telecommunications company M2 revealed it had plans to make another 150 positions redundant, just five months after culling 100 staff from its operations.

The company made headlines in April 2012 when it unexpectedly revealed it would buy the Australian operations of Primus Telecom. At that stage, M2 already operated the Commander, People Telecom, M2 Telecom, M2 Wholesale, Southern Cross Telco, GreenMobiles and Simply Mobiles brands.

“M2 Group Ltd has today commenced a process of consultation regarding a potential restructure of its business due to role duplication experienced from the acquisitive growth of the company over the last two years,” the company said yesterday.

Wow. Three major redundancy rounds in only two years. Optus is starting to look a lot like Telstra — or perhaps Vodafone. I would hazard a guess there’s not a lot of job security going around at the SingTel subsidiary.

Image credit: Optus