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Outrage over staff cuts

Thursday, 29th April, 2010

It's too early to tell if jobs will be lost from Broken Hill in Telstra's latest round of lay offs, the boss of the communications union said.

The Communications, Electrical and Plumbers Union met with Telstra on Tuesday when the telecommunications giant said it planned to axe 900 jobs in the next financial year. The national president of the CEPU, Len Cooper, said yesterday that while he was unsure of the ramifications locally - there are just six Telstra workers in the city - he believed the cuts would affect the entire network. "It's too early to tell. We won't know for some weeks. It's a budget cut - five per cent - and it's pretty clear to us that that means across the board." Mr Cooper said 900 frontline workers, including installers, cable workers and telephone operators, would be sacked leading the CEPU to question how Telstra would live up to its commitments. "The people you see in the white trucks going to homes and businesses for installation, the people you see in the pits and on cables in the street and the people you talk to you when you have a fault. It's those workers that are face to face (with customers) that are going. "We can't understand how the work's going to get done." Last year the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsmen recorded a 130 per cent increase in complaints about the handling of complaints which recently forced the communications regulator to promise an inquiry into the industry. Mr Cooper said sacking frontline maintenance workers would lead to a further drop in customer service standards. "We're pretty outraged as a matter of fact," Mr Cooper said. "The standard of service is deteriorating and it's not just us or customers saying it, it's the ombudsman too. "This is a company that has cut 60,000 jobs in 15 years." Mr Cooper said Telstra was confusing its workers and customers. "On the one hand they're saying to staff 'we've got to do better' then they're going to cut more frontline staff." The CEPU will meet Telstra again in one month. 

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