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Telstra destroying secure regional jobs, says CWU

Victorian CWU officials have slammed Telstra’s proposal to cut jobs in Ballarat, saying that CEO Andy Penn seemed intent on destroying secure local employment by outsourcing and offshoring. 

Telstra will cut 19 Wideband Design positions in Ballarat and while it is currently proposing to absorb the work internally, CWU officials believe the move is part of a wider plan which will see more Wideband functions outsourced to both local and multinational companies as part of a cost-cutting drive. 

Such companies themselves commonly use sub-contracting arrangements to lower their own costs. 

Wideband Design encompasses a variety of tasks, but predominantly involves all the preliminary work for building the newer data networks (mainly fibre) that Telstra provides for a variety of regional Victorian telecommunications projects such as at trotting and greyhound tracks, hospitals and schools. 

It also includes work for other telcos such as Optus, for Southern Cross TV and for nbn POI (Point of Interconnect) sites. 

“This is largely regional work and is best done locally,” Victorian CWU secretary John Ellery said. 

“The Australian government has to get serious about the loss of secure Australian high tech jobs,” he said. 

“It needs to create some form of disincentive to these Australian companies’ utilising these cost cutting tactics.”

Meanwhile, Ballarat MP Catherine King said she was concerned that Telstra continues to cut regional staff, particularly in Ballarat.

“This is just part of a continuing trend of job losses from Telstra in the city and it is very worrying, Ms King said. “If Telstra is serious about being part of Ballarat’s future it needs to clearly demonstrate some certainty about plans for its workforce here.”

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