||Issue No. 180||30 May 2003|
Interview: Staying Alive
Bad Boss: The Ultimate Piss Off
Industrial: Last Drinks
National Focus: Around the States
Politics: Radical Surgery
Education: The Price of Missing Out
Legal: If At First You Don't Succeed
History: Massive Attack
Culture: What's Right
Review: If He Should Fall
Poetry: If I Were a Rich Man
Satire: IMF Ensures Iraq Institutes Market Based Looting
The Locker Room
Unions Deserve Reputation
Ziggy The Pinhead
This week Zygmunt Edward Switkowski showed that his true priorities are not to the real stakeholders of Telstra - its employees and customers - but to the big end of town and, of course, himself.
Fresh from putting the Estens' inquiry into regional telecommunications into a file marked 'never to be opened' Ziggy the Pinhead has shrugged off revelations that another 3000 jobs will disappear from the national telco over the next financial year.
One in five job cuts will come from country areas which hardly upholds Estens' recommendation 8.2 that Telstra should maintain an ongoing local presence in regional, rural and remote Australia.
The job cuts are rather disingeniously described by Telstra as part of an ongoing drive to lift productivity. How getting fewer people to do more with less in an organisation that has already been pared to the bone is supposed to work invokes a subtle genius.
Telstra, showing a cavalier attitude to what a reasonable person may deem to be something approximating the truth, had previously denied plans to throw fellow Australians out of work. Telstra has already disposed of 11,423 people in the last three years. About one in five of the positions lost this year were in country areas, demonstrating the extent of Telstra's ongoing commitment to rural and regional Australia.
While Telstra moves to divest itself of inconvenient payroll obligations Ziggy will, no doubt, be passing on the benefits of his own redundancy package - a year's salary - to each employee made redundant.
It was revealed at a Senate committee hearing that Mr. Switkowski would receive a year's salary if he too was to be down-sized.
Telstra has joined the ranks of corporate Australia in designing lavish parachutes, worth millions for failed bosses, while cutting thousands of jobs, reducing services to Australians and hiking line rentals.
The cost cutting does not, of course, extend to the corporate lifestyle enjoyed by the monkeys at the top of the tree. Telstra will maintain its lavish hospitality budget - seeking "value for money" with from entertainment activities. No doubt most average Australians would regard a lunch to the value of a four figure sum being picked up by someone else as being excellent value indeed.
If Ziggy the Pinhead was fair dinkum about the market he would address the needs of the majority shareholders of Telstra, the Australian people.
Switkowski was paid $2.4 million last year, including a $1.25 million base salary as well as a $1.15 million incentive payment. Despite this the Telstra share price has dropped and service standards continue to be indifferent.
Then again, considering we can get rid of John Howard for $10 000 a night, paying Ziggy the S to crawl back under whatever rock he came out from under could represent good value.
The attempt to totally privatise Telstra is an admission by the Howard government that they can't run it, without admitting that the private sector can't run it either.
Australians won't be fooled or blackmailed by this or any other government and know their only guarantee of service is continued public ownership.
Our tool of the week is just another greedy grub masquerading as a brains trust. It's high time he was accountable to the people who foot his lavish bills - you and I.
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