Just weeks after signing a contract worth more than AU$270 million, NBN's key Tasmanian construction contractor, Visionstream, has sacked 60 workers.
Visionstream announced on Wednesday that its workforce would be cut. Communications union secretary Trevor Gauld said that 40 Hobart-based positions will go, along with 20 in Launceston, and that most of the jobs cut are permanent employees.
Workers were told the news during a meeting on Wednesday morning, when Gauld said they were refused union representation.
"They read a list of 40 names, who were told to wait while everyone else was sent back to work," he said.
"One by one, they called the 40 workers into a room and told them consultation was finished and their employment was terminated effective immediately."
The company had flagged as early as August last year that 50 jobs could go as part of the shift to the multi-technology mix rollout and away from the fibre-to-the-premises rollout.
A Visionstream spokeswoman reportedly said that the company's needs have changed as the rollout reaches an advanced stage, and that the redundancy of 60 positions is possible.
Some staff could be redeployed, as Gauld said the sackings will slow the pace of the rollout and damage worker morale. In parts of Tasmania, the NBN rollout is several months behind schedule.
NBN announced in June that Visionstream had won a five-year construction contract with NBN, along with Downer, Transfield, Fulton Hogan, and WBHO.
The government-owned company has attempted to overhaul the project management under the multi-technology mix rollout so that contracts are awarded based on performance.