News : Qantas Call Centres in Brisbane, Melbourne and Hobart Under Review
March 12, 2014 -- Qantas is reviewing the future of its Australia-based call centres while moving to recruit new staff in Auckland.
The Australian Services Union said last night that Qantas managers had told its officials that call centres in Brisbane, Melbourne and Hobart were under review and the airline was examining whether the current locations would continue. The union said Qantas indicated that a number of workers in the Australian call centres would be offered voluntary redundancies.
But Qantas said the review of the call centres was separate to its plans to cut 5000 jobs.
"Qantas is reviewing all areas of the company in order to identify efficiencies including within our contact centres in Hobart, Melbourne, Brisbane and New Zealand," a spokesman said. "This review is ongoing."
The ASU said Qantas managers said everything was on the table during talks yesterday, and did not rule out offshoring the jobs.
According to the union, Qantas said that while its Auckland call centre was part of the review, the airline also intended to recruit 30 new staff to the New Zealand operation, increasing the workforce to 150.
"We believe that this is a slap in the face to Australia-based call centre staff and makes a mockery of the review about to get under way," the union's assistant national secretary, Linda White, said last night.
"We asked the airline to hold off on this and allow Australia-based call centres to take on any overflow from Auckland. We believe it is putting the cart before the horse recruiting new staff before the review is complete."
Calls from Australian customers are taken in Brisbane, Hobart and Melbourne, while the New Zealand call centre takes English-speaking calls from countries other than Australia.
"We currently do not have enough staff in our New Zealand call centre to handle the number of calls we receive from overseas customers," the spokesman said. "We are looking at resourcing options at our New Zealand call centre so the centre can handle the volume of calls we receive. This includes possibly returning staff numbers to previous levels and looking at temporary employees."
The ASU said that at the talks yesterday, Qantas advised that property leases for each of the Australian centres were being reviewed. The Hobart lease expires in June, the Melbourne lease in August next year and Brisbane in May 2018.
As part of an enterprise agreement last year, the union secured a side letter from Qantas, which said the company had no plans to close any of the existing Australian call centres. The ASU said managers denied they were acting against the commitments in the letter, as no decision had yet been made.
Qantas and the ASU return to the Fair Work Commission this morning as the union battles plans by the airline to cut staff from Sydney International Airport.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Monday, March 17, 2014