Almost 80 workers from a Telstra call centre in regional Victorian have been sacked, the telco has confirmed.

Telstra said fewer people were needed to fulfil the roles and the same work would now be done by an existing call centre overseas.

The 79 workers were employed by agency Dorothy Farmer Personnel at the Ballarat call centre to operate Telstra’s Country Wide service, Telstra spokesperson Karina Keisler said.

“We advised our agency partner (on Thursday) that we won’t need the same level of support … from the end of February,” Ms Keisler said.

“The agency has advised their employees.

“The vast majority of the centre remains unaffected.

“We will continue to invest in the local community and in that call centre.”

Ms Keisler said the reduced volume of work would be managed by an existing partner overseas.

She said employees were given one month’s notice.

CEPU acting Victorian Branch Secretary John Ellery said Telstra’s move to outsource the work offshore was a “disease” and would be unpopular with frustrated customers.

“It’s really a disease … Telstra has got a real long-term problem and that is it’s perception among customers.

“Moves like this ain’t gonna help them,” he said.

“They just keep on shutting down areas where the community perceives them as absolute charlatans.”

Telstra closed a call centre employing 108 people in Grafton in northern NSW last November.

Last year, the telco also announced plans to cull 950 executive and middle-management jobs.

Extract from the The Age Online