Telstra job cuts to hurt customers: union

Telco worker unions have said that Telstra's customers will suffer under new job cuts, and that Telstra is betraying its workers.

The union representing Telstra workers has said that consumers will be worse off under the company's plans to shift some of its call-centre jobs to the Philippines.

Telstra announced on Tuesday that it will be shedding 651 jobs across Australia , angering the regional communities that will be affected by the cuts.

The telco said that it will cut 422 full-time and 229 agency staff at customer-service and call-centre operations in Sydney, Melbourne and Queensland.

It also plans to close its customer-service centres at Lismore in northern NSW and Townsville in northern Queensland.

Under the proposed job cuts, 180 roles will be made redundant at its Melbourne and Sydney service contact centres.

Telstra said that outsourced jobs in Sydney and Melbourne will shift offshore, with some to go to the Philippines.

Consumers will suffer as a result of the decision, Communication Workers Union (CWU) spokesman Alex Jansen said.

"If you have a fault in your plain old voice service line, it appears that Manila will be your first port of call on the way to trying to get it fixed," Jansen said in a statement.

"Workers there won't have the same training or the same experience of the local network and of local conditions.

"That's bound to mean delays in identifying and fixing service problems, especially the more difficult ones."

He said that the union will continue to push for laws that punish companies that send local jobs overseas.

The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) also slammed Telstra's decision, saying that it betrays employees who have worked hard to bring Telstra profits. Earlier this month, the company reported a full-year profit of AU$3.4 billion to 30 June 2012, up 5.4 per cent from last year's reporting.

"These staff have worked hard to make Telstra a productive and profitable business. Now they're being told that despite the profits announced this month, they don't have their jobs anymore," CPSU lead organiser Teresa Davison said.

"Losing a job is a big deal for any worker, but there is a big difference between losing your job in a major city and losing your job in a regional area like Lismore or Townsville, where employment prospects are more limited."

Telstra insists that the move will ensure that more faults are resolved at the first point of contact for customers.

Telstra says that staff members who are affected by the cuts will be invited to apply for other roles within the company.

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