Telstra has confirmed it will cut more than 300 roles from its customer support ranks, with a number of positions to be transferred to existing Philippines-based call centres.
Overall, 326 predominantly call centre jobs will be cut, with the bulk coming out of the telco’s Perth and Melbourne sites.
Telstra has corrected claims from the Community and Public Sector Union that the full redundancy tally is 450.
“We have talked to our people about a proposal to make changes to our contact centre and Telstra Business teams that will see a total of 326 roles impacted nationally. It impacts roles across our sales, service and national office teams," the telco said in a statement.
"Some of these proposed changes increase slightly the amount of work done by our partners overseas, as we consolidate some work types across our operations in Australia and the Philippines.
"We take our responsibility to support employees through this period very seriously and we absolutely understand the impact announcements like this can have on our staff."
The union, which continues to represent Telstra workers as a legacy from the company's public ownership days, claims Australia’s largest telco has offshored a total of 10,000 jobs while it has been keeping tabs.
The CPSU has launched an online petition urging Telstra CEO Andy Penn to rethink the redundancies, and has used a spate of network woes plaguing Telstra customers since the beginning of the year to try to drum up public support for saving the roles.
“CPSU members working at Telstra predict that network outages and other problems will only become more common because of the highly skilled people who have been sacked, many of whom have decades of experience in keeping Telstra’s services running,” CPSU communications industry rep Teresa Davison said in a statement.
“Thousands of people working in technical roles have been sacked, along with customer service and administration staff. Is it any wonder that Telstra’s network and services have become less reliable and it’s become harder for customers to speak to anyone about it?”
However, the telco said the decision was a direct response to a huge increase in the number of customers choosing online and self service options to deal with the company, diminishing the demand for call centre operators.
A spokesman said 50 percent of all customer transactions are now completed online, representing a huge shift away from phone-based support.
The announcement comes just weeks after rival telco Optus revealed it was considering outsourcing its HR and finance functions to a third party. A few months earlier Optus shed 480 jobs from its consumer, enterprise, wholesale and satellite divisions in response to an “increasingly competitive trading environment”.