Wednesday, 30 May 2018 05:05

Timing of Optus job cuts shows 'contempt' for workers: union Featured

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The union that covers telecommunications workers claims the sacking of 400 more workers at Singtel Optus shows the "reprehensible contempt" that management has for the workforce.

Shane Murphy, national president of the Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union of Australia, said the fresh news of job losses at the second biggest telecommunications outfit in Australia, was a devastating blow to workers and their families.

Optus made the announcement on Tuesday, with its chief executive Allan Lew saying the move had been made to "future-proof" the company.

The announcement came a few days after there was confirmation that Optus would be phasing out its Virgin Mobile subsidiary over the next two years and getting rid of 200 workers in the process.

In the case of the Virgin Mobile workers, Optus has said they would be considered for positions in Optus-owned stores and "also be invited to explore opportunities within our group of companies".

But on Tuesday, the commitment on this score was less definite, with a spokesperson saying "Our policy is always to speak with employees who may be impacted by these changes first, including discussing redeployment opportunities."

Murphy claimed less than a quarter of the 400 who faced the sack would get an opportunity to be re-employed by Optus.

"While we expect that under 100 of these workers will be offered an opportunity to fill a vacancy elsewhere, there are still over 300 families tonight who will be reeling from this terrible news," he said.

“The union will be doing everything we can to assist the impacted workers during this incredibly difficult time. We will be working will Optus to ensure every single worker gets the entitlements they deserve.

Murphy pointed out that the announcement had been made at a time when the union was getting ready to negotiate a new enterprise agreement with Optus.

“Their timing of these enormous job cuts demonstrates a reprehensible contempt for the Optus workforce," he added.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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