Qantas to sack 450 call centre workers

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Qantas to sack 450 call centre workers

Will consolidate facilities.

Qantas will let go around 450 call centre workers as a result of its decision to merge three Australian call centres into one Hobart-based facility, under its ongoing $2 billion transformation program.

The carrier today announced it would close its Melbourne and Brisbane call centres by mid-2015 and 2016 respectively, following a three-month review into the operation of its three Australian facilities.

The Brisbane centre employs the equivalent of around 200 full-time staff, while nearly 250 FTEs are employed at the Melbourne facility.

Qantas will continue to operate call centre services out of its Hobart facility, which employs approximtely 200 FTEs.

Qantas’ domestic CEO Lyell Strambi said operating three centres in different states was inefficient, particularly as customers were turning to other channels - specifically social media and online - to communicate with the airline.

“We are facing some of the toughest conditions Qantas has ever seen, which means we have to look at ways to become more efficient and remain competitive,” Strambi said in a statement.

“Having call centres in three different states presents a number of challenges including property costs, duplication of management and operational complexity."

He said Hobart presented the most “logical choice” to become Qantas' sole Australia call centre due to its modern facilities, lower operating costs and available space within the site. 

The airline said it will offer affected employees in Brisbane and Melbourne redundancy packages and transition support “in excess of regulatory requirements”.

“We will commence an expression of interest process with our employees to understand how many would like to move to Hobart. Employees who choose not to move interstate and remain employed until the closure of their centre will be provided redundancy packages,” Strambi said.

“Today’s decision in no way reflects on the contribution of our contact centre workers. We want to thank all of our employees for their hard work.”

Qantas had previously confirmed its IT team would be affected by its decision to cut 5000 jobs overall before June next year, in an effort to save $2 billion in costs over the next three years.

The airline will also renegotiate supplier arrangements with its IT suppliers under the program, which outlines 250 initiatives to meet its targeted reduction in cost savings by 2016/17, including to rationalise its software applications.

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