Primus slashes headcount

Telecommunications player Primus Telecom today conceded 10 percent of its 1,000-strong workforce in Australia was being axed due to an organisational restructure of permanent and casual staff.

Telecommunications player Primus Telecom today conceded 10 percent of its 1,000-strong workforce in Australia was being axed due to an organisational restructure of permanent and casual staff.

A spokesperson for Primus Telecom -- which claims to be Australia's fourth-largest fixed-line carrier and third-largest Internet service provider -- said around 100 positions would be cut under a streamlining of operations designed to prepare the company for the pending launch of mobile, voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and broadband content services.

The spokesperson said the cuts had been determined over the last few months in collaboration with an external consultancy he refused to name. He revealed the number of positions being slashed after being questioned about a Primus release last night that said only "minor reductions in some permanent and casual staff will be implemented".

Final decisions had been made this week and affected employees were presently being advised, he said. The layoffs have affected the entire organisation as opposed to just one or two departments, he added.

Greg Wilson, Primus Telecom managing director, said a combination of completion of the initial work to establish new service offerings and "the need to consolidate operations across product divisions" had driven the decisions to reduce staff numbers.

The United States-headquartered company earlier this month said it had installed new DSL infrastructure in more than 100 telephone exchanges across Australia and was on target to double that number by 31 December.

The organisation is believed to be in negotiations with Optus to deliver a Primus-branded national mobile GSM service by the end of the year to supplement its existing Telstra-supplied CDMA offering.

Primus Telecom is reportedly preparing to launch subscription-based broadband television next year, while a VoIP service is also in the works.

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