[Documents menu] Documents menu

Unions protest Telstra job cuts

By Simon Johanson, The Age, Thursday 30 March 2000

About 200 employees occupied Telstra's Melbourne headquarters today to protest against the company's plans to slash 16,000 jobs.

Waving placards and banners, the protesters condemned the planned job cuts and demanded the telecommunications giant change its mind.

Speaking to workers, Community and Public Sector Union secretary Stephen Jones said: It's going to be a very long, cold winter for senior Telstra management because wherever they go, we are going to be there.

And it's not just going to be the unions who are going to be there, it's going to be people in local communities who understand that you can't cut jobs and retain services, Mr Jones said.

Telstra chief executive Zwiggy Switkowski announced the reduction in workforce earlier this month at the same time as announcing a record interim profit of $2.2 billion.

Over the last three years, full time staff total had been reduced by more than 26,000 to just under 52,000. The continued focus on cost reduction initiatives is expected to result in further reduction of 10,000 staff by June 2002, Mr Switkowski said at the time.

The cuts would save the company $650 million annually.

But Len Cooper from the Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union said the unions were ready for a protracted dispute, ...probably the most significant we have waged in this industry.

We intend, if necessary, to make it a long campaign, he said.