National CWU representatives met with Telstra on Tuesday 1 July over proposed scheduling and dispatch redundancies.
The previous day, Telstra had notified the CWU that the implementation of its automated dispatch system would make 136 internal jobs redundant. A further 46 jobs currently filled by agency staff will also go.
The company plans a major centralisation of the scheduling and dispatch functions, with the number of sites from which workflow is managed being reduced from 25 down to 5.
Victoria, NSW and Queensland will be the states hardest hit by the site closures.
Telstra has told the CWU that as a result of the proposed changes there would be 90 roles within scheduling and dispatch that “a number” of affected Telstra employees would be able to be redeployed into.
Looked at this way, the net number of Telstra jobs lost is 46.
But more than 46 Telstra employees will probably face redundancy. It is never easy to redeploy staff where it involves relocation as this exercise in centralisation will do.
During the trial of this system, Telstra told the CWU that it was one of the few companies in the world that had a system that could provide fully automated scheduling and dispatch but didn’t use it.
The CWU told Telstra there was a reason for that. Automation of dispatch has not worked in the past because of the loss of local knowledge and real-time problem solving ability that occurs when such systems are introduced.
The centralisation that Telstra is now proposing will make matters even worse.
State branch officials have also been briefed by Telstra on these redundancies. Affected members should contact their branch for further information.