Telstra finally admits job cuts

After weeks of lame denials Telstra Corp. Ltd. has finally admitted it is planning job cuts in the thousands.

The telco’s finance director John Stanhope has admitted plans to cut about 3,000 jobs next financial year as part of an ongoing drive to boost productivity.

Telstra last week denied Labor claims it would cut its 40,000-plus workforce by 5 to 10 per cent – or up to 4,000 positions – and slash capital spending by up to 20 per cent.

But Telstra officials have conceded about 3,000 jobs would be lost next year as part of the company’s productivity drive, although they said no specific targets had been set.

Stanhope said the company would have shed about 2,800 full-time staff by the end of June this year as it moved to boost productivity by 7 per cent.

And he said next year would be about the same, subject to the Telstra board approving the company’s business plan.

“It’s approximately the same number as last year,” Stanhope told a Senate estimates committee hearing.

Asked if that was about 3,000 full-time staff, he said: “Yes.”

The committee heard Telstra had shed 11,423 jobs in the three years to April 2003.

About one in five of the positions lost this year had been in country areas, 1,500 from the network area, 210 from marketing, 400 from business and government and 300 from finance and administration.

Telstra also said it had reaped an extra A$204 million (US$133 million) in revenue from line rental increases in the nine months to March but refused to give an estimate for the full year.