||Issue No. 175||24 April 2003|
Interview: Picking Up The Peaces
Unions: The Royal Con
National Focus: Around the Grounds
Economics: The Secret War on Trade
International: United Front
History: Confessions of a Badge Collector
Politics: Stalin’s Legacy
Review: Such Was Not Ned’s Life
Poetry: Osama's Top Recruiter
Satire: Woolworths CEO Denied Bonus After Company Posts Profit
The Locker Room
Success Breeds Contempt
Join the Dots
Cheap Indian on Telstra Menu
Confirmation came, courtesy of the Herald Sun which spoke to a Melbourne-based Indian IT worker, as Australia’s largest company denied it was paying “sweatshop wages” to foreign workers.
The unidentified worker confirmed he was receiving just $820 a month, under a contract negotiated with an Indian IT giant, whilst Australian Telstra employees on similar work received around $5000 a month.
"I'm actually underpaid because of what Australians earn for my quality and my work. There is a disparity," the worker told the Herald Sun.
Sources close to Telstra insist the company is using about 100 Indian computer workers in a bid to further cut labour costs.
The revelation confirms Telstra's reputation as the company most eager to accept gifts from Peter Reith and Tony Abbott that allow established wages and conditions to be undercut.
The giant telco, set to report a $3.66 billion profit this year, has enthusiastically picked up on opportunities to contract out, use labour hire companies, employ on AWAs and, now, import guest labour in bids to sidestep standard wages and conditions.
Telstra has slashed 50,000 jobs since being part-privatised and chief executive officer, Ziggy Switkowski, has offered the community no apologies. He refuses to rule out further job losses and unions believe he might already have another 4000 Australian families in his sights.
Unions have lashed the latest Telstra cost-cutting measure as exploitative and immoral.
CPSU national secretary, Adrian O'Connell, labelled it a "scandal".
O'Connell said the company was doing little more than the Federal Government's bidding, after the release of a report that suggested Australian companies cut IT costs by outsorcing some of their operations to India.
He called on Telstra executives to think, for once, of the long-term damage to the community of their short-term cost cutting.
Country NSW Unplugged/b>
CEPU, meanwhile, will see the corporation in the IRC as it moves to head off redundancies around country NSW.
Telstra has announced plans to chop 100 people from its IS&W Rural and Remote Fix It units, affecting Newcastle, the Riverina, Central Coast, Mid-North Coast, New England, Far North Coast, South Coast, Lithgow and Broken Hill regions.
CEPU branch secretary, Jim Metcher, said the company had been warned repeatedly that its drive to cut jobs would have "disastrous consequences" for the integrity of the national telcommunications network.
"Telephone services, expecially in rural and remote area, can only continue deteriorating," Metcher said.
CEPU has lodged a dispute against the company, over the latest round of redundancies, in the NSW IRC.
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