The Hon. Tony Abbott,
Dear Prime Minister,
OFFSHORING OF JOBS FROM TELSTRA
We write to you about a very vexed issue: the offshoring of high-tech, reasonably well paid Telstra jobs to India and other places. Increasingly, workers employed by foreign companies are being used to replace Telstra workers.
Telstra has been offshoring call centre and administrative work for some time now. This is bad enough and we have been trying to dissuade Telstra management from this course for many years.
However the current redundancies being conducted by Telstra have forced the union to change its approach and to seek broader public involvement in this matter. Telstra’s current plans involve the transfer of hundreds of highly skilled network management jobs to “industry partners” in India. Telstra workers, including those who will face redundancy as a result of this move, are being asked to train this replacement workforce.
We cannot tolerate this act of total disregard for Australia and Telstra workers by Telstra management. Telstra is a company that has been treated very well by the Australian people and Governments. The company management and its institutional shareholders should not be allowed simply to do what they wish in this regard, merely because they believe it will serve the company’s bottom line.
What is more, the perceived gains from such behaviour are illusory. The customer dissatisfaction which flows from offshoring and the drop in public image are not in Telstra’s own interests.
Nor are the delays and inefficiencies that flow from lack of local knowledge of customers’ requirements, the re-works (where work must be repeated) and re-visits and the escalation of simple faults back to Australia due to language misunderstandings. This is all resulting in a degradation of service levels.
We also believe there are major questions to be answered relating to the security of Australia’s telecommunications service provision and the security of customer information.
We are aware that there is considerable discomfort within the ranks of Telstra Management, and even at Senior Management level, with these decisions.
We are not merely customers and employees, we are Australian citizens. It is wrong that TELSTRA is sending high-end telecommunications jobs overseas.
We are calling on the Federal Government to involve itself in the issue, given its importance to Australia, and Australian workers, and to help convince Telstra Management to change course.