Telstra dismisses claims of job cuts

Telstra has dismissed the Federal Opposition's claims that it is planning to cull 10,000 jobs, from its outsourcing maintenance and services division, as "mischievous and inaccurate".

The dismissal comes after claims from Federal Opposition spokesman and Shadow Minister for Communications, Lindsay Tanner that he has seen documents outlining the plan to pay contractors a monthly fee to deliver a service and maintenance of the Customer Access Network for metropolitan areas.

Tanner has called on the telco to explain its plans and provide details of what impact this would have on jobs.

Various reports said that up to 10,000 jobs could be lost if Telstra contracted out its maintenance operations in Sydney and Melbourne.

Tanner accused Telstra of planning privatisation by stealth and this move will place jobs and services into question.

"Cutting wages and conditions may lead to greater efficiency in company accounts, but not in the real world of delivering services."

"Telstra is preparing to outsource the very heart of its operations - the service and maintenance of its telephone network.

"Telstra must halt this exercise until it has explained why it needs to outsource its core functions and what the ramifications are for the job security and conditions of existing staff," Tanner said.

However, a spokesperson for the telco said the company was only scoping the details on a possible trial and there has been no decision to implement the trial yet.

"There are no secret plans," she said.

"We are scoping the details on a trial that could help us identify ways to improve service delivery to our customers in metropolitan areas. So it doesn't even affect rural services," she saidThe spokesperson went on to add that saying there are fixed outcomes on the proposed trial is "mischievous".

"We are looking at different models and different ways on how we would approach the trial, so to say that this trial will lead to fixed outcomes is mischievous and inaccurate," she said.

The spokesperson did not rule out the possibility of job losses or outsourcing, but said it was far too early to speculate on the results of the trials.

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