The latest round of Telstra call centre lay-offs, which sees an entire call centre in Perth shut down and many of the jobs relocated in the Philippines, has been criticised by CPSU lead organiser Stuart Brewer-McCabe.
Brewer-McCabe says the CPSU had an internal agreement that Telstra would redeploy and retrain staff, from redundant jobs to ‘jobs of the future’, and Telstra had initiated T-Force to do this internally last year.
“T Force means that rather than sack 500 people in this department, and hire 500 new people for the new department, you use the existing people, you retrain them and redeploy them. You end up with a better work force and a better customer experience.
“We don’t know what’s happened with T Force, in this case.”
“T Force means you use the existing people, you retrain them and redeploy them. You end up with a better work force and a better customer experience.” – Stuart Brewer-McCabe
A Telstra spokesman confirmed that lay-offs were being discussed.
“We have talked to our people about a proposal to make changes to our Contact Centre and Telstra Business teams that will see a total of 326 roles impacted nationally. It impacts roles across our sales, service and national office teams.
“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 staff.”
He said Telstra was consolidating work types across operations in Australia and the Philippines. “We constantly review the way we work to simplify our business and remove duplication to improve customer experience. Some of these proposed changes increase slightly the amount of work done by our partners overseas.”
He said Telstra has grown its Australian workforce in areas considered jobs of the future such as online customer assistance (Digital and Social Media teams, sales and retention
activities) and new growth businesses such as eHealth.
While Telstra had invested billions of dollars in its network, the spokesman acknowledged, “over the past few months we have experienced some network interruptions that have impacted our customers.”
As Telstra works to lay-off almost 400 call centre and managerial workers, the Community & Public Sector Union (CPSU) has launched a publicity campaign criticising the move.