Telstra eNews

The CWU has condemned a plan that will see hundreds of employee jobs cut from Telstra’s Global Contact Centre (GCC) operations as more functions are offshored.

Telstra notified the CWU on 6 July that it is proposing to close its Dedicated Moves Team (DMT) centre in Perth with a loss of 94 jobs. The work is being transferred to “Centres of Excellence” in Bathurst and in the Philippines.

It also intends to close down a number of functional areas at its 717 centre in Melbourne, resulting in the loss of a further 109 roles, although Telstra says it intends to create 10 new jobs in related areas and staff facing redundancy will be able to apply for these.

Further work will go from centres in Brisbane and Adelaide as certain functions performed there are transferred to “industry partners” Teletech Lipa and Teletech Cebu in the Philippines. However there will be no net impact on Telstra job numbers from these particular changes as existing staff will simply be used to handle different kinds of traffic.

This disgraceful programme of destroying Australian jobs should be seen for what it really is – exploitation of low wage, low employment standards of workers in countries that have very little protection of workers’ rights. Shame on you Andy Penn!

The CWU and other Telstra unions met with Telstra over this proposal on Friday 8 July. Telstra indicated that consultation on the changes would go for a minimum of three weeks, allowing unions time to consult with staff.

The CWU will be talking members during this period. If you are affected by these cuts, please contact the branch . The union relies on feedback from members about both the personal and operational impacts of such cuts to be able to push back against management’s plans.

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Telstra is turning its attention to resourcing the contract it won last year to design and project manage the upgrade of its former HFC network as part of the NBN roll-out.

In preparation for this work, it has initiated an internal recruitment programme aimed at meeting workforce needs from among current Telstra staff.

Under the Coalition’s NBN policy, Telstra’s HFC assets will become the property of the Commonwealth and, along with Optus’ HFC network, will provide a fast broadband platform for some 4 million of the 11.9 million premises that will be served by the NBN.

Telstra knows its own network so it obviously makes sense for it to drive and oversight the upgrade necessary to deliver the speeds of 50Mbps (and beyond) that current policy requires.

But resourcing the contract will involve rebuilding its pool of HFC skills which the CWU believes has shrunk significantly in recent years.

The programme is at this stage aimed at Network Delivery staff and is seeking expressions of interest from employees with skill sets relevant to the HFC contract e.g. design and/or field experience in the CAN or HFC network; project management; reporting and analytical skills; contract negotiation and/or management; construction project management and implementation skills.

The CWU welcomes the fact that Telstra is seeking to utilise its own staff on this project and the union encourages our members to apply for the future roles.

We also note that in addition to those who may already have relevant skills there are others who will be eligible for relevant retraining under the $100 million NBN training deed between Telstra and the Commonwealth. The CWU would expect these funds to be utilised to maximise those opportunities for ongoing employment for our members which the HFC and other NBN-related contracts provide.

Telstra plans to make changes in Telstra Business that will result in the loss of at least 83 jobs.

While the CWU is yet to be briefed on the detail of these losses, it would appear they stem from a restructure involving centralisation of both sales and technical support roles in the Premium Services Group as well as consolidation of functions within Sale and Service Channels.

The CWU anticipates meeting with Telstra on these proposals during the week beginning 11 July. Affected members should contact the Branch for any advice and assistance they require.

Telstra will spend $250 million over the next 6-12 months in an attempt to build more resilience into both its fixed and mobile networks.

The move comes as technical problems continue to plague both fixed and mobile networks. Indeed the latest outage, in Melbourne, came just days after the investment announcement late last month.

Announcing the spend, Telstra CEO Andy Penn said that $50 million would be put into the improving real time monitoring and recovery time in the mobile network, $100 million into expanding ADSL capacity and $100 into enhancing resiliency in the core network.

The $250 million is not additional to the total capital expenditure budget and includes the $50 million on mobiles announced in May, but it does represent a targeted response to the series of outages that occurred earlier this year.

Penn pointed out that investment in ADSL services would have to be “carefully targeted” given that the access network is being progressively taken over by the NBN. But he said that it would still be possible to invest in new platforms, “run them in ADSL mode” and then re-use that capacity to deliver other services in an NBN world.

“What we’re responding to is increasing growth and demand, and what we’ve been seeing is 50% increases year-on-year in traffic, and that hasn’t backed off,” added Telstra GMD for networks, Mike Wright. “We’re really responding to what customers want to do with our network, so we can maintain reliability, and that is largely within the core…”.

Source: Communications Day
Network problems, particularly a series of outages in the first half of this calendar year, are set to hit staff bonuses at Telstra according to CEO Andy Penn.

In an internal letter to staff, Penn has warned that a likely fall in customer satisfactions measures will mean that “it is likely that all of us eligible for the Telstra or Network Services Business Unit short-term incentive or annual bonus schemes will not receive the NPS-based component of our plans.”

Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a favourite metric of Telstra’s which measures customer satisfaction in terms of willingness to recommend a company to others. And right now, unsurprisingly, Telstra’s NPS is not travelling too well. It is unlikely, Penn says, to reach its full year target of + 12.

But our members are certainly not responsible for the senior executives’ decisions that cause customers to rate Telstra poorly.

If Telstra management fails to invest sufficiently in its networks, why should Telstra staff who have no control over investment decisions, take a hit?

Or what if a contractor carrying out a procedure on the Telstra network makes a mistake and services go down? Was it Telstra staff that made the decision to contract out that work?

Ah, but that’s not all there is to it says Penn. “While there is no doubt our advocacy efforts have been challenged in recent months by network interruptions, it is also clear we continue to be held back by some ongoing systemic customer service issues.”

Like cut backs in field staff, for instance, that leave Telstra short any time there is a spell of nasty weather such as recently occurred in NSW. That’s not good for customer satisfaction either –but whose fault is that?

Collective punishment is a breach of the Geneva Conventions. Telstra staff should not be disadvantaged as the result of decisions over which they have no control. This surely must be a fundamental principal of any bonus scheme.

The CWU supports the senior executives’ bearing the responsibilities for Telstra’s ongoing network failures including through limiting their bonuses – or not paying them bonuses at all.  But in the union’s view, such problems should not affect the bonuses of the workers.

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