Fears held for 140 jobs at M'boro's Telstra call centre

AS TELSTRA confirmed it would shed 8000 jobs over the next three years, fears were shared for the future of 140 jobs at Maryborough's call centre.

Community and Public Sector Union secretary Amy Smith said her understanding was that as the telecommunications company moved to digitise its customer service, those jobs would come under threat and could be made redundant.

She said that would impact not only upon jobs, but also on customer experiences as consumers, including the elderly and those with limited literacy, would have to access services and assistance online.

Ms Smith called upon the Federal Government to intervene, saying that Telstra needed to be held to account.

She said there had been no consultation ahead of the announcement being made.

"Everyone has been completely blind-sided," she said.

"Our hearts go out to Telstra workers in Maryborough.

"They deserve much better."

"We're going to fight for every single job, they've got to come up with a better solution."

Ms Smith said the union had been swamped by queries from worried workers.

"There's definitely a lot of anxiety," she said.

 A Telstra spokesman said at this stage there were no specific numbers regarding where jobs would be shed, describing the union's claims as "pure speculation".

Telstra CEO Andrew Penn said the strategy would fundamentally change the nature of telecommunication products and services in Australia.

"We will take a bolder stance and use the disruption in the telecommunications industry to lead the market for the benefit of our customers, employees and shareholders," Mr Penn said.

"The rate and pace of change in our industry is increasingly driven by technological innovation and competition," he said.

"However, we are now at a tipping point where we must act more boldly if we are to continue to be the nation's leading telecommunications company.

"We understand the impact this will have on our employees and once we make decisions on specific changes, we are committed to talking to impacted staff first and ensuring we support them through this period."