Telstra has announced plans to sack 422 full-time workers and 229 staff employed through associated agencies. Many of the jobs will be lost from regional towns. Some of the jobs will be shifted offshore to the Philippines.
The company claims that the jobs are no longer required due to a decline in customers contacting them by phone. Anyone who has ever had the displeasure of being left on hold by the telco would think differently.
The truth is that the now fully private firm is slashing jobs in order to save money and increase its profits. By shifting jobs offshore it means that they can pay their staff lower wages.
The jobs losses are in reality an inevitable result of the privatisation of the firm. No longer is it run as an essential service but merely as just another profit making enterprise.
Gender pay gap remains high
Data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that the gender pay gap between men and women remains at an unacceptable 17.5%.
The figures show that women working full time earn on average $253 a week less than men. Women workers are further disadvantaged as they are more likely to take carers leave in order to look after children or the elderly.
Women who take a year off on maternity leave return to work with an average reduction in wages of 5%. After three years off the reduction increases to 10%.
In March Fair Work Australia ruled that the minimum wages of Social and Community Service workers must be brought up to par with their counterparts in government services.
This legal victory was an important first step in the direction of achieving pay equality but since we have seen a number of employers refusing to pass any increases on. The Socialist Party calls for these employers to be targeted with industrial action.
WA power prices rise again
The cost of living in Western Australia is high and on the increase. Power prices in the state have risen by 62% under the Barnett government, adding up to $520 to the average annual household bill.
Against this backdrop the ALP State Opposition have been forced to announce that they would offer people some financial relief if they won the next state election.
It seems that the ALP wants to have a bet each way. At a federal level they have implemented an ineffectual carbon tax that doesn’t reduce emissions yet puts upwards pressure on prices. At a state level however they claim to bee champions of those who are struggling to make ends meet.
People should have no confidence in the ALP’s promises. They are renowned for saying one thing in opposition and another once in power.
The only way to really keep electricity prices in check would be if the power companies were brought back into public ownership and run on a not for profit basis under community control.