Optus to cut “several hundred” jobs, union says


news Australia’s second-largest telco Optus is set to cut several hundred jobs, one of its main unions claimed last week, as part of a “company-wide restructure” that may involve outsourcing and offshoring some aspects of Optus’ operations.

In early March a number of media outlets reported that Optus was set to cut about 1,000 jobs, as part of a bid to cut costs by $200 million and reallocate funding towards buying lucrative sports broadcasting rights. However, Optus shot down the figures at the time, stating that it did not have any plans to make that many jobs redundant.

However, last week the Communications Workers Union issued a new statement noting that it had met with Optus and that the company was indeed planning to cut several hundred jobs.

“The CWU met with Optus via teleconference on Friday 18 March to discuss job losses arising out of a proposed company restructure,” the union said. “Last month the media carried reports that Optus was planning to slash staff numbers by up to 1,000, a figure that would represent over 10% of its current staff.”

“Optus has now told the CWU that it is unlikely that job losses of that magnitude will occur. But it has confirmed that a company-wide restructure is underway involving most areas of its operations and that several hundred jobs are definitely at risk.”

The union said Optus was insisting that at the moment no “final decisions” about the numbers and locations of any redundancies had been made, although the union said the the process was “well-advanced”.

“It appears likely that some degree of outsourcing and offshoring will be involved, but again no detail was provided,” the union said.

The CWU said it continued to regard the level of information being provided by Optus on the topic as “inadequate, especially given the wide publicity that the proposed cuts have received”.

The union has also reiterated its view to Optus that such cuts are counterproductive in an environment in which Optus is trying to expand its customer base and where TPG is nipping at its heels.

“But while not dismissing the CWU’s arguments, Optus clearly intends to seek savings through what is potentially a self-defeating strategy of staff reductions,” the union said. “A further meeting has been scheduled for 30 March at which the CWU hopes to receive detailed information about the scale and location of any job losses.”

Image credit: Optus