Telstra has notified the CWU that it is seeking up to 120 volunteers for redundancy from Networks Delivery, Telstra Operations.
This is the latest in a number of recent moves designed to reshape the technical workforce, in large part (but not wholly) in response to the impacts of the NBN project on Telstra’s operations.
In Customer Service Delivery Telstra is scrambling to meet the dual demands of its own internal maintenance work and its NBN Operations and Maintenance contract. It has introduced overtime rosters, is recruiting trainees and has advertised a number of fixed term positions in the field workforce.
Its failure to win any major part of the NBN construction work, however, has placed a question mark over the future of this part of its operations.
But outsourcing is also taking its toll in this area. Telstra has already contracted out much of its design/construct work. It has, for instance, just renewed a three year outsourcing contract with Visionstream for the delivery of Wideband Services.
The CWU accepts that redundancies now proposed are voluntary and that, judging from the response to similar offers in the Global Contact Centre (GCC) area last year, the company will probably have little difficulty meeting its targets.
But it of course rejects the strategy of outsourcing which not only puts members out of work but inevitably leads to a downward pressure on conditions across the industry. And the union also questions the wisdom of shedding staff who might well be needed in the near future.
NBN’s roll-out targets for the next two years are, to put it mildly, ambitious. Opportunities for Telstra to play a larger role in the construction of that network may well emerge during this period.
Have these considerations been taken into account by the bean counters? The CWU will be putting these questions to Telstra when it meets with management next week.