Optus cuts again, Vodafone ordered to 'fess up

Just over 900 jobs have been eliminated at Optus over the past two months, following today's announcement of about 560 job cuts.

Optus let go 350 staff in October following an announcement that it aims to cut costs by $75 million to $100 million by the end of the financial year.

An Optus spokesperson has confirmed that 344 full-time jobs and 217 contracting staff will be cut in a second round of restructuring.

The job cuts come from the finance/commercial areas, including network operations, engineering, customer service, IT and central head office functions.

The spokesperson was unable to put a figure on IT job losses.

Staff are being given "a week's holiday" in which time the company will look at redeployment opportunities. If none arise, affected staff will finish up with the telco next Wednesday November 21.

Also on the job front, Vodafone Australia has been ordered by the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC) to release details on how many of its jobs are on the line and to consult with the Communications and Public Sector Union (CPSU) to help minimise impact.

At this stage, Vodafone has confirmed job cuts will occur, but has refused to provide further details.

As revealed exclusively by Computerworld on Friday November 9, Vodafone Australia is seeking to reduce operating expenditure by 50 per cent.

In a draft document obtained by Computerworld outlining the company's revised business plan for 2001, prepared on November 2 2001, chief operating officer Graheme Maher for Vodafone Australia said the business is "now extremely inefficient" and "in comparison to other businesses of the same or similar size, we would appear to need to reduce staff levels by 50 per cent, as well".

As at September 2001, Vodafone had 2219 permanent staff. In recent months it has announced 350 redundancies nationally, mostly in customer care.

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