The head of Australia’s Communication Workers Union has called for Telstra chief executive Andy Penn to walk back major workforce cuts announced by the telco this morning, criticising the move as “putting short-term profits above long-term services” for Australians.
CWU national president Shane Murphy said Telstra’s decision to cut 8000 positions represented one of the largest job cuts in Australian corporate history.
The shock announcement comes as the union is bargaining for a new enterprise agreement to cover Telstra staff.
“Telstra’s decision to slash 8000 job will devastate thousands of Australian families and have a significant impact on Telstra’s ability to deliver for consumers,” Murphy said.
“In an industry which is booming, Telstra has clearly chosen to prioritise short term profits to keep shareholders happy, instead of investing in the future of Australia’s network.
“In particular the [union] is concerned about plans to hive off Telstra’s network of infrastructure, which seems a first step to selling it off altogether.
Murphy said the move would lead to a reduction in services, and see Telstra’s skilled workforce replaced by casuals and “piece-workers”, adding that clients, particularly those in regional areas, would be negatively impacted.
“Today’s jobs purge is the low-point of 20 years of privatisation, which has consistently taken the low road of cutting jobs rather than investing in vital community infrastructure,” Murphy said.
“On behalf of Telstra workers and Telstra customers, I am calling on CEO Andy Penn to reconsider this drastic action.”
Telstra’s organisational restructuring, which includes the job cuts and the removal of between two and four layers of management, is part of a three-year strategy called Telstra2022, which seeks to simplify the telco's structure, reduce costs, improve customer experience and turn the carrier around following its continued disappointing financial performance.
The changes will also see Telstra’s infrastructure services break out into a new business unit called InfraCo, the scrapping of all 1800 current consumer and small business plans to be replaced by 20 core plans, and the creation of Telstra Global Business Services, which will consolidate large scale back of house processes, according to Telstra.