Optus staff nervous about job security

Restructure means some staff are uncertain about their future, source says

Staff at Optus are reportedly nervous about job security following revelations that the telco will be restructuring, according to a source inside the telco.

Jobs will reportedly be axed as a result of the restructure.

The source said some full-time employees are expected to be laid off and some contractors are expected to not have their contracts renewed.

“Field staff are particularly nervous as more projects are to go to a ‘turn key’ model where external contractors/companies deliver distinct whole cable builds. IT staff are also at the brunt of yesterday’s cuts,” the source said.

In an email to staff sighted by Computerworld Australia, Günther Ottendorfer, managing director of Optus Networks, wrote that Optus is in the next phase of bringing its networks teams in Australia and Singapore within a group networks organisation from 1 April, 2013.

“By working as one team across Australia and Singapore we’ll be able to leverage the scale of the Group to create greater efficiencies and a more sustainable cost base to meet the challenges of the changing market and our customers,” he wrote.

“The new structure also brings changes in reporting lines for some of our local teams to take advantage of the power and synergies of the Group...

“This is an exciting next step for us to use the power of the Group to lift Optus to new levels.”

David Epstein, VP corporate and regulatory affairs, said in a statement that Optus is undergoing business changes the telco began last year, including moving mobile product and services development from marketing to the customer division.

Optus has created a new team to focus on its fixed business to take advantage of National Broadband Network (NBN) opportunities, which will be headed up by Martin Mercer, former CEO of VividWireless.

It will also form a ‘brand and marketing communication’ group to focus on brand development and customer communication and engagement and ‘streamline’ its IT and network functions to achieve greater efficiencies.

In May last year, Optus announced it was slashing around 750 jobs, with the majority of the roles to come from senior and middle management, as well as operations, back office and support functions.

“The cuts have been made at many sites that Optus operate. However, at the Optus Centre Sydney, you can tell there [have] been significant cuts as there simply aren't the people around like there once [were],” the source said.

In the 12 months to 31 December, 2012, Optus cut 962 jobs – 9.9 per cent of its workforce.

The source said Optus has been good at communicating changes to staff and providing regular updates.

Follow Stephanie McDonald on Twitter: @stephmcdonald0

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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