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Staff cuts blamed on sale of Telstra

Article is from the Nyngan Observer of 21 November 2007. Also see www.citizensagainstsellingtelstra.com.

According to Independent candidate for Calare Gavin Priestley the recent announcement of technical staff redundancies in Telstra highlights a lack of service control created by the Coalition Government’s sale of Telstra.

“The fears we all had prior to the Telstra sale are now being realised, Gavin Priestley said

“Not only are we losing valuable, highly trained technical staff who know their areas and the network intimately we are also to lose the management function out of Dubbo.

“I’ve been told management will transfer to the Riverina or Armidale thus breaking down that connection to the Western area of the State.

“The network needs significant maintenance which will show up when the first summer storms arrive.

“When this happens staff will be shifted around the State to cover the problem areas and Telstra will claim mass service disruptions as being an exceptional circumstance to avoid penalties under the service guarantee.

“Telstra is quite rightly serving the shareholders’ needs as we all realised they would have to do, but in doing so it leaves businesses and consumers in Western NSW exposed.

“The Government must look after the needs of its constituents.

“Where are those ministers and Members of Parliament who touted and voted for the sale of Telstra against the wishes of the electorate now hiding?

“Staff in Western NSW are being pressured into working overtime and Saturdays to cover for staff shortfalls despite the weather having been the driest in years. Without adequate maintenance the network will fall apart.

“I call on business and members of the community to report back to this office on their current experience with the network so that we can apply pressure onto the Government to ensure that Calare does not become a backwater.

“The communications network is the railways of the 1900s and without it regional development and towns will disappear.

“I am determined not to let this happen if I am given sufficient community support this Saturday.”

Comments

Not only Telstra, but also the broadcasting field has been shedding (retrenching) highly skilled technical staff for years, particularly with each new private ownership. I'd like to see some research into where these skilled workers go- Their work is now contracted out, which is not only expensive, but little recruitment of young trainees is occurring-- Furthermore, this work now frequently involves travel from job to job and is very narrowly focussed compared to the previous permanent 'on site' tech's involvements and interest in pre-empting problems.