150 fear for their jobs

By EMMA CORNFORD ecornford@dailyexaminer.com.au

WITH around more than 100 Grafton residents standing to lose their jobs if the proposed centralisation of Telstra call centres goes ahead, staff are worried about their future.

One worker, Michelle, said that more than 150 staff were employed at the Grafton call centre and a similar number in Lismore.

"We have been told by management recently that the centre might close so we need to maintain and improve performance," she wrote yesterday to ABC North Coast Online.

"With the announcement yesterday our future feels even more uncertain. The effects on the local community and economy would be profound if the centres closed."

Despite the prospect of massive job cuts in the Clarence, Federal Member for Page Ian Causley and Communications Minister Helen Coonan said the Federal Government, which is still the majority shareholder in Telstra, could do 'nothing' about the job losses.

"I'd be disappointed ... but at the end of the day the Government has no say," Mr Causley said.

"The Government would have to legislate to (stop the call centre closures). I'd lobby Telstra about that but at this stage it's all just speculation anyway."

Ms Coonan voiced a similar sentiment when she visited Nana Glen yesterday.

"The Government doesn't run Telstra, which had to make the commercial decision to cut jobs," she said.



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