Telecom's AAPT axes 31 staff in offshoring drive

Fresh rumours erupt of AAPT sale

Telecommunications provider AAPT has axed 31 domestic employees to expand its call centre operations in the Philippines.

About 20 sales staff in its Sydney Glebe call centre and 11 in its Brisbane site were issued redundancies on Friday, many effective immediately.

The move comes as fresh rumours emerge that AAPT may be for sale. The AFR floated the rumours yesterday in its Street Talk column. Telecom spokesman Mark Watts did not deny them, saying only that the company does not comment on speculation.

AAPT had moved technical support operations to the Philippines after a June trial of 100 staff at Manila-based company Teletech. Customer service and billing operations were retained in Australia after the trial.

The telco initially denied the redundancies when questioned by Computerworld Australia last week. However, a spokeswoman admitted the redundancies had been made after bloggers discussed the cuts on telecommunications forum Whirlpool.

The spokeswoman could not confirm whether remaining staff positions would be made redundant.

“AAPT continues to operate more than half of our contact centre resourcing in Australia. However, given the competitive environment we operate in, we will always look for the most efficient and effective way to manage the services we provide our customers,” the spokeswoman said.

The move to offshore its call centres to Manila helped AAPT etch out a 6 percent growth in earnings between 2008 and 2009, as part of its "cost containment programmes", according to parent company, Telecom New Zealand's annual report.

The telco saved $16 million through a 10 percent reduction in headcount, and a further $26 million in operating expenses through the Manila deal and since the cessation of launch costs for its $100 million customer management system, Hyperbaric.

The recent cuts follow a move by Telecom New Zealand last year to axe 250 contact centre jobs from New Zealand to its offshore facilities in the Philippines.

Computerworld New Zealand revealed that move was part of a Telecom NZ restructure of six of its contact centres.

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