In June Telstra announced it will cut 10,000 contractor jobs as part of a proposed “restructure” of the telecommunication giant.
This is on top of both the 8,000 permanent jobs that they announced would be cut last year and the 5,000 contract jobs that have already been cut in the last 12 months. The jobs most at risk are in customer service, call centres, and amongst technical contractors.
Telstra is a $43 billion company and in the last six months of 2018 made $1.2 billion in profit. Their share prices have been rising as well this year. Yet the bosses and big shareholders want to squeeze their workers to increase profits even further.
The two excuses given for the need to restructure is competition in the mobile market and the National Broadband Network (NBN) rollout. The rollout ended their monopoly on the nation’s voice and data networks. Telstra hopes that by slashing jobs they will be in a better financial position if the government privatises the NBN.
If the NBN is privatised the costs to customers will most likely go up. This is something Telstra’s chief executive has said himself. The NBN was paid for by taxpayers and it should remain in public hands. This way customers have more control over how it is run.
Both the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) and Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) have come out against these job cuts. But both need to go much further than just statements if they want to actually save these jobs. A plan of industrial action is needed and both the ACTU and CPSU need to mobilise support from the broader community and union movement.
The entire telecommunications sector is used widely by all and should not be run for profit. It should instead be run for people’s needs. If this sector was in public hands and run for public good there would be no need to slash jobs. We could ensure that a well serviced and modern telecommunications system is provided to all at an affordable price.
By Kai Perry