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Telstra suspends job cuts, will add staff to help nation cope with COVID-19

March 20, 2020

Telstra has put on hold its planned job reductions announced in June 2018 as part of its T22 strategy. The telecommunications provider had announced plans to cut 8,000 jobs during a period of three years in order to reduce costs, simplify operations and improve customer experience.

But Telstra CEO Andrew Penn now says it is in the country’s interest that corporations play a part to make sure the country comes through the impact caused by the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Penn said that there are initiatives the telco can take to help support the economy. “COVID-19 is having a profound impact on business across the country. At Telstra we already have more than 25,000 people successfully working from home, and we are supporting many of our customers as they grapple with shifting to working and studying from home," Penn added.[ Further reading: Google's Chromium browser explained ]

With more telecom capacity needed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the company decided to put on hold any further job reductions for the next six months and will also recruit an additional 1,000 temporary contractors in Australia to help manage call centre volumes.

Telstra also announced investment to increase its network capacity, including accelerating the 5G rollout, by bringing forward $500 million of capex from the second half of FY21 into calendar year 2020. It will also suspend late payment fees and disconnections until at least the end of April in order to support small business and consumer customers. Still, Telstra’s strategy to reduce $2.5 billion of annual costs, which includes slashing 9,500 roles, remains in place.

Earlier in the week, Telstra announced unlimited data at no extra cost until 30 April for small businesses and consumer customers.

Telstra told Computerworld it was doing a range of tests and working on business continuity plans for its business and network operations and management, saying it was confident its network capacity could respond to the shift in numbers of people working from home.

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