Union: Telstra seeking 120 redundancies in network ops team

NBN contract miss puts pressure on field staff

Telstra's 2015 miss on major National Broadband Network (NBN) construction contracts is biting the carrier's networks delivery operation, and the Communications Workers Union (CWU) says there are to be 120 redundancies as a result.

The union says it's been notified by Telstra that the redundancies will be voluntary.

However, the CWU's media release states, those cuts will fall in an operation that's already stretched by maintenance work. Telstra's own network has suffered a string of mostly weather-related mass disruptions, it's responsible for network remediation as part of the NBN rollout, and it has maintenance contracts for the NBN.

As a result, according to the CWU, the company has “introduced overtime rosters, is recruiting trainees, and has advertised a number of fixed term positions in the field workforce”.

The union reckons the redundancies relate to the construction contracts let in June 2015, when nbnTM gave the lion's share of the work to contractors Downer, Transfield, Visionstream, Fulton Hogan and WBHO.

At the time, the decision was laid at Telstra's feet, with nbnTM CEO Bill Morrow saying the carrier didn't like the “market rates” on offer for the build project.

The CWU says it hopes to get Telstra to reconsider when it meets with management next week – particularly in the light of continuing pressure on nbnTM to maintain the acceleration of its rollout. ®

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