On Thursday 27th March ASU officials and Delegates from each of the Telephone Sales centres met with Qantas Management to receive an update on the current review of the Australian and New Zealand telephone sales centres.
Overall there was not a lot of new information available on the review but here is a summary of what we asked and what Qantas said:
The review is being conducted by senior Telephone Sales management and also includes representatives from Qantas Strategy, as well as 'subject matter experts' as required.
On the scope and timing of the review Qantas explained that 'everything was on the table' as part of the review. Management explained that doing nothing was an unlikely outcome of the review but no decisions had been made as yet.
Your ASU representatives pressed Qantas on whether hiring 30 new staff in Auckland meant they were not a serious part of the review. Qantas claim that the NZ call centre is under scrutiny just like the Australian based call centres. We also asked a range of questions about the likelihood of one or more of the Australian based call centres closing given the recent speculation in the Tasmanian media. Qantas claim that no such decision has been made as the review is still underway.
Some of the issues that will be factored into the decision making include - costs including overheads and property costs, delivery of customer service and workforce skill set. As these are very broad criteria it's hard to know to what extent they will determine the final outcome of the review.
One definite focus of the review is property. Qantas have extended the leases at Melbourne and Hobart by 12 months. Therefore the lease at Melbourne will now expire in Aug 2015 with Hobart extended to June 2015. Brisbane has a lease until 2018 and Auckland until 2017.
Qantas advised that they are reviewing the current properties in terms of cost and current capacity/available space as well as looking at other Qantas owned properties in each state where telephone sales is currently located.
In relation to the contract Qantas has with a company called Mindpearl we were advised that only European based calls were handled by a small team from Mindpearl in South Africa. Given the large number of Bi-lingual Operators within the Australian based Qantas call centres we have asked Qantas to consider bringing this work 'in-house' - given everything is up for review why not this too?
We were advised that the review would be over in the next few months and Qantas undertook to keep the union and its members informed along the way and consult in accordance with our EBA when a decision had been made.
Qantas have agreed to meet with ASU representatives again in late April to update us on the review.
During this very unsettling time for all staff in Tele sales it's very important that we stick together to fight to keep skilled Tele sales jobs on-shore in each of the existing centres. Make sure you are keeping up to date with union bulletins, attending meetings and if you are not a union member you can join on line at www.asu.asn.au or fill in the membership form on the back of this bulletin. Let's all work together.
In the next couple of weeks the ASU will be holding meetings in all Telephone Sales centres to discuss these issues with members. Look out for dates and times in your state or contact your local ASU Delegate for further information [download the full bulletin below for details].