Telstra slammed for job cuts in favour of AI amid ‘reset’

Telstra slammed for job cuts in favour of AI amid ‘reset’

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Telstra has been slammed by Macquarie Telecom’s Luke Clifton for a “cheap, sinister move that will worsen its already disgraceful customer service standards” after its decision to ‘potentially’ cut 2,800 staff members in favour of AI.

Luke Clifton, Group executive at Macquarie Telecom said: “Telstra has never believed in investing in Australian people. It has outsourced staff overseas and now it’s trying to replace them with artificial intelligence.

It has been reported that the company's successful implementation of AI has facilitated some of the cutbacks, with AI now being used to improve half of Telstra's key processes.

“Rather than taking the lead on investing in AI to support staff and create better technologies for customers, the company is making a cheap, sinister move that will worsen its already disgraceful customer service standards," Clifton said.

“Telstra doesn’t believe in its staff or its customers, no wonder both are leaving in droves.”

Telstra announcement 

Vicki Brady, CEO of Telstra said the measures were necessary to ensure the company could continue to make the investments needed to support the “ever-increasing growth in data volumes on its networks and deliver improved connectivity for customers across the country”.

“Telstra’s ongoing investment in infrastructure, technology, innovation and service for our customers drives growth and underpins Australia’s digital economy, contributing to the prosperity of the nation,” Brady said.

“This is occurring within a dynamic environment, with an evolving competitive landscape, rapid advances in technology, changing customer needs, and the ongoing inflationary pressures facing all businesses.”

Brady said the rest of the enterprise business along with the potential job cuts would occur by the end of the calendar year 2024.

“I appreciate the uncertainty proposed changes like this can create for our people and we will support them through this change with care and transparency. As we propose specific changes, we will talk them through with our teams and union representatives first,” Brady said.

Consultation on 377 of those roles would begin immediately, Telstra said in a release.

In addition to the reset of Telstra Enterprise, the company will reshape some of its internal operations moving its Global Business Services function into other parts of the business.

The company said it continues to focus on a range of actions to reduce its non-labour and indirect labour costs.

With these actions, Telstra said it expected to achieve $350 million of its T25 cost reduction ambition by the end of FY25.

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