PARLIAMENT OF AUSTRALIA
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Friday, August 24, 2012.
Mr David Thodey
Chief Executive Officer
Telstra Corporation Limited
Level 40, 242 Exhibition Street
MELBOURNE VIC 3000.
Dear Mr Thodey,
We write as the Federal, State and local representatives for the Lismore district to formally request that you intervene and reverse Telstra’s ‘business decision’ to close its Goonellabah Call Centre on October 23 this year.
We maintain that the loss of an estimated 116 local jobs from such a closure is not only unnecessary but unacceptable, particularly when Telstra’s digital business streams are reported to be enjoying strong growth.
We seek a full explanation from you; the real reasons which led Telstra’s management team to arrive at such a cruel decision despite earlier public assurances that this particular call centre was safe.
This morning, we stood united on Lismore’s main street – Molesworth Street – to launch a community petition calling on you to intervene immediately to halt any plan to axe your highly skilled and loyal workforce in Goonellabah.
The petition further objects to Telstra abandoning its workforce in country Australia and moving jobs offshore, while recording massive profits ($3.4 billion) and awarding generous salary increases for executives.
Surely, there is a better and more respectful way to treat your Lismore staff, most of whom have to service mortgages or other financial commitments and whose families have strong ties to this community.
During this three-week consultation period regarding the closure decision, we stand ready to negotiate with yourself or your appointed executives on alternative proposals for keeping the call centre operational and profitable for Telstra.
We ask that due to the doubt and uncertainty which employees are feeling about their futures, that Telstra executives travelling to Lismore not intimidate or dissuade staff from seeking advice from CPSU officials.
We seek Telstra’s full co-operation in providing a Rapid Response Team of Federal and State agencies with immediate and unfettered access to the call centre to advise staff on various levels of support available to them.
We provide two points of contact for the Rapid Response Team being put in place:
Mr Terry Watson, Local Employment Coordinator, Richmond-Tweed & Clarence Valley Priority Area, Building Australia’s Future Workforce – 0412 320 077; email email@example.com
Mr Craig Jenkins, Business Development Manager, NSW Trade & Investment – 0411 248 482 or 0266 226 145; email firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr Watson and Mr Jenkins are experienced public servants who liaised with Telstra during the Grafton Call Centre closure in late 2010.
We are also of the firm belief that two or three weeks is not enough time for staff, who are grieving the potential loss of their livelihoods through redundancy or the upheaval of transfers, to cope with such transition.
Consequently, we ask that the consultation period be extended, in good faith, to several months to allow for a proper, more transparent analysis of all options for keeping these jobs in the Lismore district.
We understand that you have a business to run, but we are appealing to your corporate conscience to do the right thing by your staff and customers here on the Northern Rivers and avoid the kind of public relations disaster which accompanied your withdrawal from Grafton.
Janelle Saffin MP
Federal Member for Page.
Thomas George MP
State Member for Lismore.
Cr Jenny Dowell
Mayor of Lismore City Council.