Telstra jobs plan sends support for Qantas, banks offshore

Some of Telstra's biggest blue chip customers will see 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 will see 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 changes to the company's operations.

The media were told the job losses would occur in the company's back-office. However, documents obtained by Fairfax Media 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, titled The NA&S Global Delivery Model, was distributed to Telstra staff on Tuesday. It is understood that some of the positions that will be lost are dedicated support positions which 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 would lose their jobs if the plan goes ahead.

Telstra did not deny the contents of the documents. "No decision has yet been made to proceed," Telstra 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 proposed job cuts would begin from October and take up to a year to complete.

The news follows an announcement in May that Telstra would also reorganise its operational activities, in changes expected to affect about half of the company's 30,000-strong domestic workforce. But the job losses announced on Tuesday are part of a different restructure of operations.

Telstra's David Burns said the restructure and job cuts would affect the company's Network Applications and Services unit, which provides customers in government and business with products and network services. Mr Burns said the offshoring would promote domestic and international growth: "Our need to expand our capability and support our growth in Asia is a need for now."

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

"Telstra's been reducing its staffing literally for years, and another group of 170 - and I don't mean to make light of it - but it's just the latest instalment," BBY analyst Mark McDonnell said.

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