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Telstra looking to axe 44 jobs across fibre rollout design

Fibre installation design employees across regional Australia are being targeted in the next possible wave of Telstra's job cuts, with 53 roles potentially going and nine being created.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Telstra has confirmed that it is considering cutting 53 roles across its fibre installation design team to be offset by the creation of nine new roles, due to shifting the locale of its design centres.

The roles will be axed in Ballarat, Victoria; Hobart, Tasmania; and Netley, South Australia, with a new centre to open in Victoria.

"We are proposing to reduce the number of locations that deliver the design solutions our field-based staff use to haul and install fibre," a Telstra spokesperson told ZDNet.

"Currently, this function is performed by people in different locations around Australia, using different processes which result in variations in the standard of work. Instead, we are proposing to create several Design Centres of Excellence which will be complemented by our existing industry partners.

"These centres will adopt a national standard that will help us to reduce process and production variation and deliver better-quality work for our customers."

Telstra added that it is currently in consultation with its employees over the matter.

The Communications Workers Union (CWU) had on Friday reported that Telstra would be cutting 53 jobs in Wideband design in its Customer Service Delivery (CSD) business, adding that four would be created in regional Victoria, and five in Melbourne.

According to the CWU, the cuts were attributed by Telstra to being "part of a larger exercise designed to make its design workforce more 'flexible' and less complex", which the union said meant the telco would be outsourcing.

"Telstra has already outsourced substantial amounts of its Wideband design work, including to India-based Cyient," the CWU said.

"In this case, though, Telstra says that no work will be outsourced -- at least initially. Instead, it will be absorbed by the remaining design workforce.

"This is the same pattern we have seen in recent years with regional call centres: First, the work is drained out of them with outsourcing and offshoring; then they are closed altogether, not because there is no work, but because Telstra chooses not to have it performed in certain locations."

Telstra last month also confirmed that it is considering cutting 204 jobs in its Global Finance Services business across business intelligence and analytics services, operational billing, credit services, and accounting.

"We constantly review the way we work to simplify our business and remove duplication. These proposed changes would consolidate some work because we are standardise [sic] our reporting and processes," a Telstra spokesperson said at the time, adding that 35 current vacant Services Operations roles could also be removed entirely.

The telecommunications provider is also looking at increasing the volume of work carried out by its local and international partners.

"This will mean we are able to service our customers with a 24-hour response," the Telstra spokesperson explained.

"This is not a move we take lightly, and we will consult and work closely with our people on this. We take our responsibility to support employees through this period very seriously, and we absolutely understand the impact announcements like this can have on our employees."

The CWU reported that of those 204 jobs, 139 will be offshored.

In July, Telstra also confirmed that it would be cutting 326 jobs across its business, saying it would "remove duplication" in its customer service solution, and would "increase slightly the amount of work done by our partners overseas", with work types to be consolidated across Australia and the Philippines.

Telstra has been having a rough year, with three executives -- CIO Erez Yarkoni, COO Kate McKenzie, and CTO Vish Nandlall -- departing the company along with seven network outages.

Rival telecommunications provider Optus also confirmed on Monday that it is carrying out redundancies across its Networks division, with the CWU reporting 90 roles being cut.

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