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400 jobs go in VHA deal cancellation

Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) has cut its ties with an outsourced call centre, which has left around 400 Melbourne staff jobless.

Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) has cut its ties with an outsourced call centre, which has left around 400 Melbourne staff jobless.

A VHA spokesperson confirmed this morning that it was currently in discussions with ASX-listed outsourced call centre, Service Stream, over its contract with the company.

Service Stream has so far been unable to respond to ZDNet.com.au's enquiries; however, the company has told Fairfax publication, The Age, that VHA had canned the contract, leaving some 450 staff jobless. A VHA spokesperson though has said the number was closer to 380.

Work handled by Service Stream split across VHA's in-house call centre base in Tasmania and its Indian call centre operations in Mumbai, a VHA spokesperson told ZDNet.com.au. VHA's Mumbai call centre is operated as a joint venture between 3 Australia and 3 UK, and employs around 1800 people.

"We are not anticipating any marked changes in the number of employees at this facility," the VHA spokesperson said.

Major changes are afoot at the newly-merged mobile telco. VHA in August selected Kingston, Tasmania as its Australian call centre base, which came at the expense of its Brisbane centre. The Kingston call centre currently employs around 400 staff, and VHA plans to add 100 more by June 2010. The Tasmanian Government had offered VHA a skills and training related package believed to be worth around $3 million to retain its operations there rather than in Brisbane.

VHA last week announced its intention to consolidate its multi-site Sydney headquarters to a single location in North Sydney. The six-floor office is expected to house around 1000 staff.