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Optus announces redundancies amid restructure into multimedia company

Telco-cum-multimedia-provider Optus has announced a series of redundancies across its workforce as it restructures and 'reshapes' itself.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Optus has announced that it will be restructuring its Enterprise and Consumer divisions through a series of redundancies, with a "reshape" of its workforce planned in order to support its transformation into a multimedia company rather than a pure telecommunications carrier.

Under the restructuring, Optus will consolidate and make redundant a number of jobs, with a company spokesperson telling ZDNet that depending on "redeployment opportunities", the upper limit on the total jobs to go would be 480.

"Optus Business, and the Wholesale and Satellite divisions [will] rationalise roles and optimise resources in response to the increasingly competitive trading environment," Optus said in a statement on Monday afternoon.

"These changes require Optus to reshape its workforce with the skills required in an increasingly digital world and to invest in the capabilities required to bring ideas to market more quickly. As a result, Optus is proposing to make a number of roles redundant."

Optus rationalised the process by saying it would allow Optus to become more streamlined and "innovative".

"These changes will create a structure that allows the business to operate as a highly integrated, innovative, and content-driven multi-media brand; streamline Optus' customer service functions, by simplifying systems and processes, multi-skilling front line staff across products and services, and resolving customer issues more quickly and with fewer handoffs; evolve the way we work so that Optus can bring new products, services and innovations to market more quickly; and enable Optus to reshape its workforce with the skills required in an increasingly digital world."

Under the restructure, Optus will also simplify its customer service and billing systems.

The news of redundancies comes just over a month after Optus denied reports that it was planning to axe 1,000 jobs in the immediate future to help fund its English Premier League (EPL) exclusive broadcast deal.

It had, however, conceded at the time that it would need to make changes to its organisational structure in future.

"Optus continually reviews its operations to ensure it has the right organisational structure in place to achieve its goals," an Optus spokeswoman told ZDNet in February.

"As our business evolves, we anticipate we will need to make further changes to the way we organise ourselves to help support our business goals, but we have no specific changes to share right now.

"Although our priority is to always communicate the details of any changes directly with employees first, Optus does not have plans to make 1,000 roles redundant."

The Communications Workers Union said in February after meeting with Optus that it thought the job cuts were counter-productive.

"[Optus] has confirmed that a company-wide restructure is underway involving most areas of its operations and that several hundred jobs are definitely at risk.

"Optus clearly intends to seek savings through what is potentially a self-defeating strategy of staff reductions," it said.

The telco in November announced that it had won the exclusive Australian broadcast rights to the English Premier League for the next three seasons beginning August 2016, taking the most-watched football league worldwide away from pay TV provider Foxtel's Fox Sports.

Optus has said that it will be broadcasting the EPL across its Optus TV platform on a 24/7 channel via the Fetch set-top box, as well as through apps, a website, a satellite service for more remote viewers, and a sub-licence for one game per week with the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS).

Updated 4:38pm AEST 4 April 2016: Added upper limit of jobs to go.

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