More Telstra jobs head offshore

Von Michael Crawford
Telstra Corp. Ltd. has announced plans to outsource what could potentially be 400 jobs in the applications, development and billing services division through Electronic Data Systems Corp. (EDS).

The telco informed global outsourcer EDS on Monday that negotiations into the outsourcing contract were to begin again this week.

EDS is currently in an assessment phase to determine what jobs will be going offshore, and expects the move offshore will occur over a 15-month period.

Sally Durrant, spokesperson for EDS, said EDS employees were briefed about the contract on Tuesday.

"The proposal has taken 18 months and last week Telstra picked up the negotiations," Durrant said. "The numbers would be less than 400."

It is understood a five-year contract worth more than A$100 million (US$72 million) would be signed with the Indian EDS operation before the end of the year. Telstra currently outsources billing applications to EDS in Australia.

Kate Lundy, shadow IT minister, said that the timing of the announcement that Telstra IT jobs are heading to India via American-based outsourcing organization EDS is nothing short of a national disgrace and called for an accountability checklist to be implemented before offshore outsourcing of Telstra and government ICT jobs can be considered.

"The Howard government has only ever been interested in fattening up Telstra"s bottom line for privatization," Lundy said.

"Ill-informed offshoring, with its fictitious savings claims, is a short-term device to impress market analysts.

"If the government does not implement and apply such a checklist immediately to majority government-owned organizations like Telstra, we can expect to see other government departments join the offshoring rush -- with thousands of public service ICT jobs and skills lost as a result."

Lundy added that such a checklist should determine whether Australian skills capabilities have been exhausted, and security and other concerns have been addressed according to Australian law.