Saturday, 08 February 2020 02:26

Telstra reveals latest round of job cuts, provokes ire of union Featured

By
Telsra CEO Andy Penn Telsra CEO Andy Penn

Telstra is cutting an additional 280 jobs as it continues culling its workforce as part of the program announced in 2018 that it would effect a net reduction of 8000 employees and contractors by 2022 - and reduce two to four layers of management, with one in four executive and middle management roles to go.

This latest round of job cuts by Telstra, confirmed by the telco on Friday, has been condemned by the trade union representing telecommunications workers - the CEPU - which says that both the Telstra workers and customers are bearing the brunt of the cuts.

Australia’s largest telco confirmed on Friday that the cutting of 280 jobs - which had been revealed internally to staff by CEO Andy Penn this week - was a critical part of delivering Telstra’s T22 commitments to change its structure and ways of working to allow staff to deliver better and faster outcomes for customers. The telco first announced its T22 strategy in June 2018.

A Telstra spokesman referred iTWire to one media report where Penn said: “We have made good progress on our commitment to remove hierarchies and silos and have redesigned our organisation from the ground up”.

"We have already removed three management layers and are on track to reduce up to four management layers in the organisation. Around 75 percent of the net 8000 direct workforce role reductions we announced as part of our T22 strategy have now been identified. We have also made progress creating 1500 new roles in areas like cyber security and software engineering.”

But Friday’s confirmation of this latest round of cuts has drawn strong criticism from the CEPU's Shane Murphy, who said that “this latest round of job cuts spark concerns not only for the ability for frontline customer service within reasonable timeframes, but even about the protection and security of customers’ private information and data”.

“These cuts will have a huge impact on workers employed maintaining the network and IT infrastructure at the enterprise level – including roles critical to the protection of vital customer information,” Murphy said.

“Telstra needs to come clean to its customers about how it is going to guarantee their personal data is going to remain safe without Australian-based expertise to protect it.

“You can’t simply cut these jobs and expect the service to continue as usual.

“We’re already seeing the impact of job cuts, with large parts of the country being forced to deal with vital communications infrastructure outages for days on end because we simply don’t have the workers to fix problems quickly.

“Any Telstra customer will tell you that customer service at the telco is already subpar. There’s no doubt things are going to go from bad to worse for customers once these latest jobs go too.”

Murphy said it was a difficult time for workers who are “now facing the reality of life without a job”.

“It’s a tough time for the workers, their families and their broader communities – particularly those in rural and regional areas. Job cuts hit everyone hard.

“The CEPU is working with impacted members during this difficult time. Members should contact the CEPU office with any queries or concerns.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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