Telstra cuts 1400 jobs to save $1b

telstraGETTING your phone line repaired or finding technical support in person could get harder this year after Telstra revealed plans to slash 1400 jobs over the next six months as part of a $1 billion cost-cutting exercise.

Australia’s biggest telecommunications provider revealed it would hold meetings with

Communications Workers Union officialls tomorrow to discuss the cuts, which will affect more than four per cent of the company’s workforce.

Telstra’s job cuts are expected to reduce construction and maintenance field services, including the division tasked with repairing copper phone lines, as well as staff in Telstra retail stores who provide customer service and support.

The staff cutbacks could mean it will take longer to have your internet connection or landline repaired, although the copper network will progressively become the responsibility of the National Broadband Network.

The latest job losses come after Telstra axed almost 1100 positions in the final half of 2016 — its biggest cost-cutting round in three years — and form part of a plan to slash $1 billion from its costs over five years.

Telstra chief executive Andrew Penn issued a statement about the job cuts late on Wednesday, saying they were “urgently” required to “become a leaner organisation” and respond to competitive pressures and the “accelerated rollout” of the NBN.

“We recognise that if these changes proceed it will mean some valued colleagues will be leaving the business,” Mr Penn said.

“Change of this magnitude is always hard. I can assure you our proposal for these changes has been made after careful deliberation.”

Communications Workers Union Victoria secretary John Ellery said the move could strip important technical knowledge from the company and the telecommunications industry.

“Telstra has always been a technical organisation filled with highly technical people and now they’re being sacked or the jobs are going off to India,” Mr Ellery said.

“You’re just having people saying ‘enough’s enough, I’m getting out’.”

The company currently employs more than 32,000 full-time workers.

Telstra is expected to drop as much as $3 billion in revenue after the NBN is completed in 2020, and its shares dropped earlier this year after TPG Telecom revealed its plan to build a competing mobile phone network.

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