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Telstra Agrees To Stall Sackings, Plans 5G Rollout Ramp-Up

MELBOURNE: Telstra says it has put on hold its plan announced in June 2018 to shed 8000 jobs and will accelerate its 5G rollout in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Under the 2018 plan, known as Telstra 2022, Telstra said there would be a net reduction in staff and contractor numbers of around 8000 over four years. But most have already gone. Six thousand went in FY19. In October 2019 Telstra announced plans to cut 570 and in February this year, another 280.

Telstra said it would continue to focus on its plan to reduce underlying fixed costs by $2.5 billion annually by the end of FY22, but would not announce any further job reductions over the next six months and would hire 1000 temporary contractors in Australia to help manage call centres.

Capital expenditure of $500 million planned for the second half of FY21 will be brought forward into the first half, from June 2020, to increase network capacity, including accelerating the roll out of 5G .

Telstra has also promised relief to small businesses and consumers unable to pay their bills by suspending late payment fees and disconnections until at least the end of April, at which point the policy will be reviewed.

Telstra said also it would extend any sponsorships due this year for another 12 months to provide more certainty to partners and the causes it supports.

It will also pay its interim dividend next week, distributing $951 million to shareholders.

Despite these upheavals Telstra said current outlook remained within the range of its FY20 guidance, set out in its half year results in February. – Stuart Corner

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