The Communications Union is accusing Telstra of planning a “staged withdrawal” from Australia’s telecommunications industry.
The telco giant sent a note to all staff on Wednesday outlining a restructuring of the business, with around 1400 jobs to be axed nationally – 11 in Tasmania.
CEPU Tasmanian branch secretary Trevor Gauld said Telstra provided “strong signs” on Thursday that the company was “moving rapidly to restructure into a shell company that doesn’t actually perform any work”.
“Whilst the formal information from Telstra revealed limited details of where the 1400 redundancies will occur, senior managers all over the country are spilling the beans to anyone who will listen that this is the first step of likely six-monthly reductions in frontline worker numbers,” he said.
“Astonishingly, they don’t even hide the fact that the work still needs to be performed but is being moved to an offshore workforce or where they can’t offshore, by casual labour hire or questionable ABN contracting practices.”
Telstra chief executive Andrew Penn announced the restructure on Wednesday.
“I recognise this will be difficult for some but please understand that we must make these changes to ensure we remain a great company in the future,” he said.
“We have a bold plan – to transform our culture, processes and systems to meet current market expectation and succeed in the future marketplace.”
Mr Penn said the company was facing an “unprecedented world of technology innovation and digital disruption”.
“I strongly believe we can succeed in this environment, however, to do so we need to transform, urgently … This is particularly the case where these trends are combined with the increased competitive pressures and the accelerated rollout of the NBN.”
The union’s state organiser Lisa Bahls participated in a two-hour teleconference with senior executives at Telstra on Thursday afternoon.
“Telstra practically admitted their own employees are so frustrated by how poorly the company is run that they were confident of having more volunteers than needed for redundancy in this first round.”