news Telstra is seeking up to 120 volunteers for redundancy from its Networks Delivery operations, according to the Communication Workers Union (CWU).
The CWU said that, judging by the response to similar offers in the Global Contact Centre area of the telco last year, the company will probably have little difficulty meeting its target.
The move is the latest in a string of recent staff cuts and offshoring or outsourcing initiatives designed to reshape the technical workforce, largely as a “response to the impacts of the NBN project on Telstra’s operations”, the union suggested.
It said that, in Customer Service Delivery, Telstra is “scrambling” to meet the dual demands of internal maintenance work and its operations and maintenance contract with NBN Co. This is evidenced by the introduction of overtime rosters, the recruitment of trainees and the advertisement of a number of fixed-term positions in the field workforce, according to the CWU.
“Its failure to win any major part of the NBN construction work, however, has placed a question mark over the future of this part of its operations,” said the union, adding: “But outsourcing is also taking its toll in this area.”
Telstra has already contracted out much of its design and construction work. For example, the firm recently renewed a three-year outsourcing contract with Visionstream for the delivery of wideband services.
While the CWU accepted that the latest job losses are to be voluntary, it rejected the strategy of outsourcing. This not only puts its members out of work but “inevitably leads to a downward pressure on conditions across the industry”.
The union further questioned the “wisdom” of shedding staff who could needed by Telstra in the near future.
“NBN’s roll-out targets for the next two years are, to put it mildly, ambitious,” it said. “Opportunities for Telstra to play a larger role in the construction of that network may well emerge during this period.”
The CWU said it will be raising these points when it meets with Telstra management next week.
Image credit: Telstra