In a completely unbelievable move Qantas management have today announced to staff that they plan to close 2 of their 3 Australian based Qantas Telephone Sales centres in Brisbane and Melbourne in 6 – 9 months' time, shedding approximately 540 jobs while they will maintain 6 offshore Qantas / Jetstar call centres in New Zealand, the Philippines, Japan and China which employ around 1250 staff.
While it is good news for those staff working in Hobart that their centre will remain, this short sighted decision to favour offshore jobs over Australian jobs is a breach of faith to hard working loyal staff who now face redundancy, and slap in the face to Australian customers who have relied on the service of Australian based Telephone Sales staff over many years.
In typical style Qantas decided to leak the news of these closures to the media before facing staff today and in advance of a scheduled meeting with the ASU which is planned for Melbourne tomorrow (Thursday).
The details of what exactly is planned in terms of how the technology will work are sketchy – the company in a brief communication to the ASU has said that they will redeploy anyone who wants to move from Brisbane or Melbourne to Hobart but there is no detail on how many will finally be needed in Hobart. We believe it will be a lot less than the 540 staff currently working in Brisbane and Melbourne. Nobody can tell us if the Hobart centre will be a 24 hour centre or how it will operate, all they say is new technology will be implemented!
The bosses who have fronted staff today have refused to detail why they have made these decisions, which is a pathetic state of affairs in our view, and Qantas staff deserve a lot better than this.
We also know that Qantas has increased the capacity of the Auckland centre recently and there are no plans to scale back that operation despite the fact it has been underperforming, if Qantas truly conducted a proper review then how does the Auckland centre remain untouched?
Qantas seems to believe that Telephone Sales staff will uproot themselves from family and their lives to move to Hobart – it is easier said than done.
What can we do?
We think this decision is not only a poor one for the affected staff but for the travelling public as well. Some of Australia's most successful companies have recognised the benefits of having multiple Australian based call centres - Qantas should do the same.
We are going to fight this crazy decision and have today launched a TV ad which will be shown around the country to highlight the bad decision that Qantas is making.
You can see the ad here http://bit.ly/qf-callcentre-cuts
We will also be stepping up our campaign with our nation's politicians who cannot stand back and watch good Australian jobs go offshore.
Most importantly your ASU reps are seeing the Company tomorrow for more details on what is planned and we will report back to members on the state of play both in meetings and in bulletins.
We MUST fight this decision – if we do not stand up for Australian jobs who will??
For more information contact your local organiser (download the full bulletin below for details).