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Union claims Telstra giving priority to short-term profits Featured

The Communications Workers Union has described Telstra's decision to cut the jobs of 8000 employees and contractors by 2022 as "putting short-term profits above long-term services for the Australian community".

The telco announced on Wednesday that, as part of its Telstra2022 strategy, it would reduce two to four layers of management, leading to the cutting of one in four executive and middle management roles.

CWU national president Shane Murphy said the cuts were among the largest in Australian corporate history.

“Telstra’s decision to slash 8000 jobs will devastate thousands of Australian families and have a significant impact on Telstra’s ability to deliver for consumers," Murphy said in a statement.

“In an industry which is booming, Telstra has clearly chosen to prioritise short-term profits to keep shareholders happy, instead of investing in the future of Australia’s network."

Murphy said the union was particularly concerned about the plan to split Telstra's infrastructure assets off into a separate unit as this seemed to be the first step to putting it up for sale.

“This is a recipe for reduced services, with Telstra’s highly skilled workforce of employees and contractors replaced by casuals and piece-workers," Murphy claimed.

The Telstra announcement comes as the union is bargaining for a new enterprise agreement to cover the telco's workforce.

“These cuts will directly impact on Telstra’s ability to service existing clients, particularly those who in regional areas rely on the network for business and essential services," Murphy said.

“Today’s jobs purge is the low point of 20 years of privatisation, which has consistently taken the low road of cutting jobs rather than investing in vital community infrastructure.

“On behalf of Telstra workers and Telstra customers I am calling on chief executive Andy Penn to reconsider this drastic action.”

In a joint statement on Thursday, the Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union and the Community and Public Sector Union said: "Telstra’s announcement of the largest jobs purge in Australian corporate history is unacceptable.

"The destruction of 8000 skilled white- and blue-collar jobs is a national jobs emergency that cannot be allowed to proceed."

The two unions said cuts of such a magnitude would badly affect Telstra’s ability to to deliver quality services, especially in rural and regional communities.

"It also sends a terrible message more broadly that workers in a high-tech, digital business like Telstra can be thrown on the scrap-heap so easily," they said.

"The Federal Government must urgently intervene in this issue to retain worker confidence in the economy and use its power as a major consumer of telecommunications services to maximise pressure to protect these jobs."


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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the sitecame into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.


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