The union movement has pledged to fight Telstra’s planned move to send workers offshore.
Telstra employees and union members rallied in Melbourne to protest against the telco sending jobs overseas to lower wage economies such as India, China and the Philippines.
Telstra spokesperson, Stephen Morrison, claimed no Telstra jobs were to be sent offshore.
“However, Telstra seeks to partner with the world’s best suppliers in order to meet the ever increasing expectations of our customers, staff and shareholders,” he said.
“We deal with Australian and international companies we believe provide us with the best quality services delivered cost effectively. We deal with offshore companies that fit this description.”
Morrison said that for the telco to remain a successful Australian company it had to source the best services available internationally to allow it to compete against huge multinational companies which already sourced services from the global marketplace
He said that Telstra had recently announced the creation of 65 new jobs in Ballarat and 160 new jobs in Perth.
The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) claims that up to 150 IBM jobs through Telstra contracts have already been lost and that the telco plans to move 1500 more this year.
“This will not just have a short-term effect on jobs at such companies as IBM and Deloittes, who do work on behalf of Telstra,” CPSU spokesperson, Dermot Browne, said. “It will also have a flow-on effect, meaning long-term implications for such businesses as local suppliers and developers of software.”
The unions remain unconvinced and dissatisfied.
“We are calling for a moratorium and a full public inquiry,” Browne said. “We need to raise awareness in the broader community about the implications of IT offshoring.”
The Labor Party is supporting the unions’ move. However, the Federal Government claims that the relocation of IT and communications services overseas is a modern global phenomenon that needs to be kept in perspective.
A statement released by the office of the Federal Minister for Communications, Technology and the Arts, Daryl Williams, said: “Globalisation of IT services is also presenting opportunities that are being seized by Australia’s IT industry.”
It claimed that between July and November 2003, $330 million in new investment flowed into Australia’s ICT industry in investments and contracts from offshore companies.