Telstra cuts may force techies from IT: CEPU

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Telstra cuts may force techies from IT: CEPU

The Communications Electrical and Plumbing Union (CEPU) has questioned Telstra’s logic in thinning the ranks of its regional field technicians, offering to help the incumbent find “temporary redeployment options” for them instead.

National president Ed Husic revealed internal calculations today that purport to show 92 jobs under threat in NSW and the ACT.

These include 35 technician jobs in Sydney Metro, nine in Newcastle, four in Bathurst and a host more spread across regional towns.

Husic expressed concern that regional technicians made redundant by Telstra may be forced out of the industry altogether because they are unable to find work.

"Finding telecommunications job opportunities in regional areas is no mean feat even when times are good - let alone in the current economic environment," Husic said.

"There are some work opportunities - if you're prepared to load yourself up with debt and purchase equipment to become a sub-contractor. But, with banks on a lending squeeze, that isn't really an option.

"On top of this, the business plans of other major players in the industry don't require the need for a large field workforce at all.

"This means that many former Telstra workers have to search outside the industry to get a job - and once they're out of the sector, the chances of getting them back are slim at best."

Husic said the Federal Government's recent shift in direction on the NBN project "gives Telstra a vital chance to rethink its schedule of planned job cuts - to protect its skills base".

"The CEPU is ready to work with the corporation to find temporary redeployment options in order to ensure these much-needed skills don't slip from the industry," he said.

"Longer term, we also want to work with Federal Government to develop a strategy to boost skills in the industry to ensure the NBN project has the workers available to make the project the success it needs to be."

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