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Telstra redundancies: unions challenge Telstra on redeployment

The CWU and other Telstra unions are asking whether Telstra is serious about redeployment, despite the powers it has to move people into new roles under the current Enterprise Agreement (EA). 

Over the last few weeks, hundreds of jobs have been earmarked for redundancy in Telstra, largely in customer contact areas.

These have included nearly 200 jobs in the Global Contact Centre area and 83 further jobs in Telstra Business. The most recent notification received by the CWU is for 40 jobs from Telstra Retail arising from the sale of a number of Telstra stores. 

At present it is unclear how many of the employees currently filling these roles will be redeployed but judging from the experience of contact centre redundancies last year, the numbers are likely to be modest. 

Yet it was only in October last year that employees accepted a new Enterprise Agreement which, controversially, gave Telstra the ability to redeploy any and all employees, including those who want to accept redundancy and take a package. 

In response to union questions, Telstra has acknowledged that its internal processes for assisting redeployment are still underdeveloped. In particular T-Force, which was intended to assist in matching current employees to skill requirements and job vacancies across the company is to date only operating in Networks and Global Services, not across all of Telstra. 

The union understands the current redeployment rate is in fact only about 15%. 

Telstra is currently undergoing a major refocussing of its business in response both to the immediate impacts of the NBN project and to the longer term technology changes in the communications industry. Its skilled internal workforce remains a key asset in this period of transition – as Telstra’s ability to win major NBN contracts shows. 

The CWU believes Telstra should be maximising the use of this resource, not wasting it through making those who want to work for the company redundant. 

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