News : Serco Job Losses Were on the Cards, Say Past and Present Workers
Bendigo, Victoria, Australia, Nov 13, 2015 -- Past and present Serco call centre workers in Bendigo say the writing was on the wall for their jobs as early as six months ago.
Nearly 60 Bendigo call centre workers face an uncertain future after the loss of a Department of Education and Training (DET) contract.
The workers at Serco's Asia-Pacific call centre in Mollison Street were notified this week that they would be without a job when the contract expires on January 20.
Past and present Serco employees, who have contacted the Bendigo Advertiser, put the jobs losses someone between 50 and 60.
One former employee, who wished to remain anonymous, said workers had known for three to six months that the DET contract would not be renewed for a sixth year.
"(Serco) started to let go the first couple of groups (of workers) on October 9," she said.
"They pretty much said there is no work, we are not confident we'll get the contract next year, we can't afford to have you.
"We weren't getting any calls - the department I was in dealt with USI (unique student identifier) - the Canberra office had pretty much taken over everything we were supposed to do without telling us.
"They were trying to change everything without letting Serco, but we (workers) picked up on it."
Nearly 20 workers were made redundant in October in the lead-up to the official announcement the contract would not be renewed this week.
A DET spokesperson this week said the department had advised Serco it would be entering into alternative service arrangements and would not require its services beyond January 20.
The cuts are expected to affect telemarketers and their supervisors and a mix of full-time, part-time and casual staff, casting doubt over the future operation of the call-centre.
It is understood the DET contract is Serco's sole line of business in Bendigo.
The former employee warned workers would face a tough slog finding new employment.
"There's not much going in Bendigo job-wise, there's nowhere you can really go" she said.
"People are probably going to have to look elsewhere."
Serco said it was working with staff to manage the process.
Federal Member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters said she planned to speak with affected workers early next week.
She called on the Coalition government to to commit to more jobs for the Bendigo region.
"These are jobs we simply can't afford to lose," Ms Chesters said.
"I'd be very disappointed if they are taking these jobs from Bendigo and putting them into another marginal seat, or regional seat
"It's just not fair. That's not creating jobs, that's just transferring jobs.
"On this government's watch, we have lost a lot of government sector, or related jobs in our region.
"If these jobs got to a metropolitan region that practical local knowledge from people is lost."
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Monday, November 16, 2015