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News : EnergyAustralia Jobs in Doubt After Melbourne Call Centre Closure
Melbourne, Australia, Nov 5, 2015 -- Up to 300 jobs are in doubt after EnergyAustralia announced plans to close its call centre in Melbourne's north-east.
Staff at the centre in Mill Park have been told their jobs will be relocated to a new call centre in the Philippines from September next year.
Some positions will be moved to the company's other sites in Victoria.
The Hong Kong-owned electricity generator and retailer said the move was tough, but necessary given the challenging times for the energy sector.
An EnergyAustralia spokesperson said the change would provide flexibility to scale operations up or down to match customer demand.
"With a smaller real estate footprint in Melbourne, the move will save money which will enable us to provide a more competitive service to our customers," the company spokesperson said in a statement.
The company said it was giving employees plenty of time to decide whether to stay with the company or leave.
"In September next year, 10 months from now we will close our Mill Park contact centre ... that gives us time to support our people, whether they stay with the business or move on," the spokesperson said.
"It's not a decision we took lightly."
Australian Services Union secretary Richard Duffy said the union found out about the job losses from a member on Thursday night, and would have a briefing with the company on this afternoon.
"It's a bit of a shock to us, in terms of the information," he said.
"The best case would be that we'd be able to keep the jobs in Australia, we'd be able to work with the company to get to the position where they are still viable in Australia."
Mr Duffy said moving to Geelong, where the company had another site, was not an option for many people who lived locally with their families.
But he said any move to shift the jobs overseas was "disgraceful".
"Any Australian company that's making money in Australia to then think just to save a couple of dollars on wages ... by moving jobs to cheaper labour countries, it's not something many Australians would support," he said.
"They've got an enterprise agreement in place, and through that process there was no discussion of off-shoring jobs."
Mr Duffy called on the Victorian Government to assist the company to maintain the jobs in Australia.
Victorian Industries Minister Lily D'Ambrosio said the job losses were disappointing but job prospects in Victoria remained promising.
"Every job is one job too many to go and it's very sad news for each worker and their family but what's really important though is to focus on the fact that new jobs are being created," she said.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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The EA-IPR Retail Partnership uses the EnergyAustralia name under licence from EnergyAustralia, and now services EnergyAustralia’s former Victorian and South Australian customers, as well as thousands of new customers of its own, having a total of more than 350,000 electricity and gas customer accounts.
Published: Friday, November 6, 2015