A TOUGH CALL

By ADRIAN MILLER

TELSTRA workers in Grafton face an uncertain future after reports the company is planning to cut up to 14,000 jobs.

A leaked internal Telstra document talking of massive job cuts and an email from Telstra's chief operations officer Greg Winn to other executives stating the telco would axe jobs have sparked the uncertainty.

The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU), which represents Telstra workers, and the Federal Labor party have called on the company to be more open about its dealings.

CPSU Telstra lead organiser Paul Girdler said the company had to come clean about potential job cuts.

"What we're trying to do is get some transparency in this debate," he said. "It's widely known there are going to be significant job losses, but they (Telstra) are not prepared to tell the Australian public what is going on."

Telstra Country Wide corporate affairs spokesman Alix Varley said while there were no guarantees call centre staff would keep their jobs, there were no current plans for staff cutbacks.

"At this stage we're still under review and until those findings come out everything is speculation ... but at this stage there are no plans to cut call centres or jobs," she said.

With Telstra's privatisation legislation passed in the Senate last night, Mr Girdler said the public was not being told the full story.

"All this leads you to suspect is this is precisely why this legislation is being rushed through the Australian parliament," he said. "(Because) there are going to be announcements down the track which obviously are not going to be positive for Telstra workers, their families and the services they provide.

"This information has been kept from the Australian public, it's been kept from our members and the Australian Parliament isn't even taking a vote on this Telstra legislation in full knowledge of all the facts."

But Ms Varley said Telstra was not hiding anything.

"Our CEO has made no secret of the fact that he is undertaking a review of the entire company and until the details of that review are released at the end of October everything is speculative," she said.



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