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Telstra says off-shoring 'better', unions call it 'slap in the face'

Yahoo!7 Finance

Telstra’s move to axe nearly 700 jobs from its Sensis arm has been described as an “insult to Australian workers”.

Of the 698 jobs cut from Sensis, more than half will be off-shored to The Philippines or India.

The cuts will result in an overall reduction of 648 positions, and the telco will create a new digital customer management centre with 50 new roles.

Union officials have condemned the announcement, describing the outsourcing plan as a "slap in the face" to hardworking Australians.

"Telstra calls itself a great Australian company and it's built off the back of Australian workers and consumers and this is how they repay them - by shipping these jobs offshore. Frankly, it's an insult," said Community and Public Sector Union national president Michael Tull is quoted as saying.

Telstra doesn’t seem unfazed by the criticism and says its customers will get better service from Filipino or Indian call centre workers.

Managing director of Sensis directories business, John Allan reportedly told union officials that Australians will get “better customer services from Manila or India. They have better technology and innovation.''

Sensis currently employs approximately 3500 staff.

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“Until now we have been operating with an outdated print-based model – this is no longer sustainable for us. As we have made clear in the past, we will continue to produce Yellow and White Pages books to meet the needs of customers and advertisers who rely on the printed directories, but our future is online and mobile where the vast majority of search and directory business takes place,” Mr Allan said.

“Already, more than 60% of our customers now are advertising online and in mobile apps, while our White and Yellow Pages digital services received 18.4m visits in January 2013.

“We need to simplify our operation and invest in areas that make us more efficient, and meet our customers’ growing demand for online and mobile services.

Earlier this year, the telecommunications giant reported an 8.8 per cent rise in first-half net profit to $1.6 billion (after tax).