Telstra last night confirmed union claims that it was discussing cutting around 900 jobs over the coming year, although it stressed the idea was just a proposal as part of its annual business planning.
The Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union (CEPU), which is one of Telstra's main unions, said the telco told it of the proposed cuts yesterday.
"We have started talking to our employees about some proposed changes over the coming year — including potential job reductions — in our Operations team," a Telstra spokesperson said last night. "At this stage, these are just proposals as part of our annual business planning, but it is important to keep our employees informed — including in the very early stages."
The telco said it would confirm the numbers once it had made the actual decisions on the cuts after consultation with employees and unions, but it said current planning indicated "a figure of around 900".
"We will look for volunteers where possible and Telstra has among the most generous redundancy provisions of any employer in Australia. Any changes or job reductions would not compromise customer service — we will ensure we have the right resources in communities across Australia to get — and keep — people connected," it added.
Under the management of its previous chief executive Sol Trujillo, Telstra had carried out an extensive technology rejuvenation project that saw its core network, billing and operational support systems overhauled and a new nationwide 3G mobile network — Next G — built.
"The fact is, as we improve our networks and our know-how, there is less work required to design, build and maintain them. These proposed changes reflect improvements in our networks and the way we deliver service to our customers," the Telstra spokesperson said.