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CUTTING STAFF IN RETAIL

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    TELSTRA SHEDDING MORE STAFF, THIS TIME IN RETAIL, BROADBAND, AND ON-LINE SERVICES.

    STORY TAKEN FROM THIS MORNING'S COMMUNICATIONS DAY (4 JUNE 2002) (Duncan Craig, author):

    Telstra Retail set to roll senior management in cost slashing shake up

    Telstra Retail plans to shed a number of senior management positions before the end of the month, in a clean out of its executive ranks as the
    carrier implements the next round of job cuts aimed at keeping the investment community satisfied with cost control.

    Telstra sources confirmed to Communications Day that a large number of senior managers within the retail unit are likely to lose their jobs this month - before the end of the financial year. It’s understood that more
    executives will be informed of their redundancies today.

    “There is no master plan to cut 20% of staff ,’’ a Telstra spokesperson said. “But there may be a thinning of the management ranks by June 30.''

    No figures are available yet, though the total number of redundancies is thought to be the highest single chop at Telstra Retail since its inception.

    The job losses will be most felt in marketing, and areas where products are sold through in-direct channels, and broadband and online services, which will be particularly hard hit.

    “This is the next big clean-out and this time they are management redundancies,’’ a Telstra source said. The
    carrier is now focusing on direct channel marketing initiatives and is attempting to drive “synergies’’ between different business units.

    It’s understood the entire web production design team at the plush George Street office in Sydney were given
    their marching orders yesterday, with security guards in attendance. Those workers were employed by the
    broadband and online services team, which currently employs 200.

    The job cuts at Telstra Retail will be principally in the “level 3 and level 4” of the carrier – a middle
    management level that has long been regarded as top-heavy. Some executives higher up the chain are
    understood to be under threat as well. Telstra is keen to make the job cuts effective before June 30 in order to get the costs off its books.

    Telstra is moving to trim costs aggressively across its retail unit, and insiders said the budgets for the coming
    year are significantly down in terms of allocated expenditure. The Telstra spokesperson said there weren’t any plans for mass sackings across the board. However, he confirmed there was significant job losses in the broadband and online services unit, now run by ex-Optus executive Omar Khalifa.

    The broadband and online services unit has been shedding workers for the past year, as the carrier pulls out of content deals struck at the height of the dotcom boom. Executives that were given responsibility to strike
    international deals, such as the doomed tie-up with European broadband content provider Fantastic
    Corporation, are believe to have left the company.

    The Telstra spokesperson said the carrier was reducing the size of its online content business, because it
    wasn’t producing any revenue. Many of the business development people that were making small deals have left the company, or had their positions cut.
 
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