Telstra profits should go to job creation, not destruction, says union


news Following Telstra’s announcement of a record profit for the 2015-16 financial year, the Communication Workers Union (CWU) has called on the telco to use some of those funds to invest in its Australian workforce, rather than continue with its outsourcing and offshoring initiatives.

On 10 August, Telstra announced it had made a $5.8 billion profit for the year ending 30 June 2106 – an increase of 36% on the previous year.

“In light of such a massive profit announcement, we’re calling on Telstra to stop taking shortcuts and employ the skilled workforce that is necessary to deliver 21st century telecommunications infrastructure that their customers expect, and pay for,” said the CWU’s National President, Shane Murphy.

In a statement, the CWU pointed out that around $1.8 billion of the annual profit came from Telstra’s “windfall” sale of shares in its Chinese car trading venture, Autohome.

“Without that, profit growth would have been flat, in line with pre-tax earnings growth which actually showed a small decrease,” the union said.

Furthermore, the CWU said that it is Telstra’s shareholders that will benefit most from the good financial news, not the firm’s employees, with the firm also announcing a $1.5 billion share buyback and an increased dividend in its fiscal report.

An extra $3 billion is being ploughed into network development, it added.

“But at the same time, Telstra jobs are going out the door as outsourcing and offshoring continues unabated,” the CWU said, adding that there is “no reason the windfall shouldn’t be spread around”.

Murphy called on Telstra to put an end to what he described as its “penny-pinching” approach to its workforce, which he said has seen “thousands of jobs” sent offshore or replaced locally with “underpaid, under-skilled, contracted labour”.

Former long-term Telstra staff member Rod Bruem also recently criticised the “massive wave” of offshoring that has occurred at Telstra in recent years.

Making his comments in an opinion piece in industry newsletter Communications Day, Bruem said due to the large number of jobs sent overseas, “long suffering” Telstra customers may experience mixed levels of service from its new overseas staff.

Image credit: Telstra