Telstra jobs plan sends bank support offshore

Some of Telstra's biggest blue-chip customers - including National Australia Bank, Qantas and Westpac - will have critical support operations performed out of India if the telco pushes ahead with plans to outsource jobs there.

Some of Telstra's biggest blue-chip customers - including National Australia Bank, Qantas and Westpac - will have critical support operations performed out of India if the telco pushes ahead with plans to outsource jobs there.

Telstra this week floated plans to cut up to 170 full-time local jobs and outsource jobs to India as part of sweeping operating changes.

The company said the job losses would occur in its back office. But documents obtained by Fairfax show some of the technical expert and specialist roles that will be targeted in the round of job cuts, if the plan goes ahead, will come from teams assigned to look after the complex computer networks of National Australia Bank, Qantas and Westpac.

The document, The NA&S Global Delivery Model, was distributed to Telstra staff on Tuesday. It is believed that some of the positions to be lost are dedicated support positions that provide critical technical support in the event of network faults.

The documents also show that 12 trainee contractors working in Telstra's South Australian operations will lose their jobs if the plan goes ahead.

Telstra did not deny the contents of the documents. "It's important to stress that no decision has yet been made to proceed," spokesman Scott Whiffin said.

"We'll discuss the impact of any proposed changes with our corporate customers before making any decision to proceed. These discussions won't commence until after the completion of consultation with our employees."

The job cuts, to be nationwide, will begin from October and take up to a year to complete, and follow an announcement in May that Telstra would also reorganise other operational activities that would affect about half the 30,000-strong domestic workforce.

Telstra's David Burns said the restructure and job cuts would affect the company's Network Applications and Services unit (NAS), which provides customers in government and business with products and network services including security, cloud computing and video conferencing.

Going offshore would promote domestic and international growth: "Our need to expand our capability and support our growth in Asia is a need for now," he said.

But analysts said the move was more to do with reducing costs.

"I think that's the main rationale," BBY analyst Mark McDonnell said.