Mobile carrier 3 this week confirmed that it had recently shown a number of Australian contractors the door due to what it said were the completion of certain projects.
The number of contractors to lose their roles remains unclear. "As a number of projects have now been completed for the year, some of 3's contractors have not been renewed," a spokesperson for the company confirmed. "We have, however, extended a number of contracts for projects required to be delivered in 2009."
In answer to questions on whether the financial crisis had caused the contractors to be dropped, 3 did not answer directly. "Contractors will continue to come and go as different projects require different skills — that is why we use contractors and not permanent staff in a number of areas, as it provides our business with the flexible workforce required," the spokesperson said.
Although the spokesperson was able to say the number of contractors hired by the carrier had gone down, they declined to confirm numbers involved or which projects were being wound up.
Ericsson, which does some work on 3's network, has also taken the knife to its contractors, announcing today that it planned to reduce the number of those employed in such arrangements by 200. It also planned to cut 100 permanent employees over the next six months.
An Ericsson spokesperson said that the contractors which 3 was talking about in its comments were hired directly by 3 and not by Ericsson, but could not confirm whether some of the 200 contractors it intended to cut would be pulled from working on Ericsson's 3 contracts.