Telstra today confirmed it would shift the jobs of 101 Sydney and Melbourne call centre workers dealing with large corporate customers to facilities in Brisbane and Perth.
The workers sit within the telco's enterprise and government division, which counts large government departments and Coles amongst its customers.
Telstra spokesman Peter Taylor said the telco would help staff to try to find an alternative role within the company, and that the move was being undertaken to improve the quality and consistency of service for customers. Overall Australian staff numbers in the area would not be hit at all, he said.
However the Community and Public Sector Union was not impressed with the decision.
"This 'restructure' makes no sense at all," the union's national president Louise Persse said in a statement. "It is nothing more than a ploy to replace skilled staff covered by a collective agreement with poorly paid contract staff who will require significant training."
The union leader said customers and shareholders should be asking questions about how getting rid of "valuable skilled staff" was in Telstra's interests. "This is another short-sighted, short-term, cost-cutting exercise from Telstra that makes no sense for customers," she claimed.