Telstra finally admits jobs going offshore

Telstra is sending 450 software jobs to India as part of its outsourcing agreement with IBM Global Services.

As part of the deal with IBM, which manages and develops software applications for the telco, Telstra said yesterday it expects to save hundreds of millions of dollars.

Telstra's regulatory, corporate and human relations managing director Bill Scales outlined details of the savings, when appearing before a Senate committee.

"It has delivered some benefits to us; our estimates are certainly in the hundreds of millions of dollars," he said, adding that the savings will occur over five years.

"We are simply responding to the highly competitive marketplace in which we operate; we are committed to the IT sector in this country." Telstra's offshoring moves have come under severe criticism from the Opposition and the union movement both of which want the government to put a stop to any jobs going offshore as part of its 50.1 percent stake in the telco.

Before the hearing, Telstra repeatedly denied jobs were going offshore.

Telstra CEO Ziggy Switkowski also came under fire for not fronting at the parliamentary hearing.

Labor Senator Sue Mackay said Dr Switkowski failed to attend despite repeated requests from the ICT committee. Senator Mackay asked Scales if the public should feel miffed by Dr Switkowski's no-show, as the head of Australia's biggest publicly owned company.

Scales said the CEO was heavily involved in a major review of Telstra's operations and was unable to attend.