News : Unions Says Telstra Must Do More to Help Sacked Workers
Sydney, Australia, Oct 30, 2015 -- Unions representing the hundreds of workers being sacked by Telstra accuse the telecommunications provider of dedicating fewer than five full-time staff to help them find new jobs, a claim the company strongly denies.
Telstra on Thursday night revealed it would fire 411 workers from several divisions across the country – the latest in a series of hits for staff at the telco as it cuts costs. It pledged to help them all get the training and help they needed to find new jobs.
But Community and Public Sector Union director of the communications team Teresa Davison said fewer than five full-time Telstra staff were dedicated to helping the fired employees in the Telstra Career Centre. She also said that contrary to earlier reports, the proposed job cuts were not limited to call centre staff.
"There are IT, administration and technical jobs [being lost]," she said. "The workers are pretty angry because a month ago Telstra asked them to vote yes on a collective agreement and the main selling point was improved job security.
"A month later we have hundreds of jobs going and they've found the Telstra Career Centre is totally understaffed to support them. A lot of the people are feeling really anxious so that really takes time."
Ms Davison said having staff dedicated to helping redundant workers find new jobs was vital for their future. This included training on how to write CVs, preparations for job interviews and assistance on finding work in other Telstra divisions.
But a Telstra spokesman strongly rejected the claims, saying its career centre had more than 100 staff performing a range of tasks, including hiring new staff and helping those leaving the company.
"This is a proposal only and no decision has been made. Employees are not at the point of being redeployed," the spokesman said. "Last year nearly 70 per cent of people who sought redeployment were successfully redeployed."
Ms Davison acknowledged Telstra had shown a genuine willingness to negotiate with union bodies. She said there had been very few forced redundancies in the past two years.
"Years ago it wouldn't have been a real negotiation but we have been very successful in fighting for every single job [more recently]," she said. "Telstra is always creating new jobs so we have to help people at risk of losing their jobs into the new ones coming up.
"Telstra, mostly, has been very helpful and supportive of that and agreed to it."
This is the latest in a series of big job cuts at Telstra, which has consistently outsourced call centre and other support roles overseas. More than 600 jobs were sent to India last year. It also flagged 1100 staff reductions two years ago.
Telstra has been creating new jobs in growth areas of its business such as its network applications and services division. But even these parts of the business have been hit with partial outsourcing.
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The CPSU's Ms Davison said Telstra staff often trained their would-be replacements from India and the Philippines before being made redundant or rotated and forced to apply for new jobs within the telecommunications provider.
But Telstra is unlikely to stop cutting jobs – a move it blames on rising competition and falling profit growth in older parts of its business. The company told investors on Thursday it would focus on slashing costs, automating processes and investing in areas such as Asia to bolster profits and revenue.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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