The Guardian 7 December, 2005

Retrenched Telstra workers shut out

Retrenched Telstra workers are being shut out of the telecommunications industry by a policy that blocks them from being employed by companies holding Telstra contracts.

Telstra policy excludes retrenched staff from being "re-employed or engaged" by the company or any contractors "carrying out Telstra works" for 12 months after their departure.

If a company does employ a retrenched worker within 12 months to perform Telstra-related work, that company is slugged 64 percent of the worker’s redundancy payment.

Communications Union (CEPU) NSW Secretary Jim Metcher said the policy effectively meant former staff could not be employed in the industry as Telstra owns the network and is the dominant telecommunications provider.

John Howard claimed that 12,000 staff, marked for the axe, would have no trouble finding jobs elsewhere.

Keith Matson, who was knocked back from a job after he was involuntarily retrenched from Telstra, said he laughed when he heard the Prime Minister’s comments.

"He doesn’t know what he’s talking about", the 62-year-old said. "He wouldn’t even know how to plug in a phone."

The former line serviceman said a job offer he received was later withdrawn because he had been retrenched from Telstra.

"I was shocked when I found out I couldn’t get back in [the industry]", he said.

Telstra CEO Sol Trujillo has announced that up to 12,000 jobs would be shed within five years.

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