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Sensis workers march in Melbourne

AAP (Computerworld) | April 5, 2013
Sensis in February announced job cuts as it accelerates the transition from print to digital businesses

Workers from Telstra's Sensis division have walked off the job and marched through central Melbourne to protest mass job cuts.

More than 100 workers have rallied to call on Sensis, which publishes the Yellow and White Pages, to reverse its plans to cut around 700 jobs Australia-wide from its 3500-strong staff.

Sensis in February announced the cuts as it accelerates the transition from print to digital businesses.

About 390 jobs will go from backroom and sales roles, with most expected to be sent overseas to call centres in the Philippines or India.

"Our jobs yes, outsourcing no, Johnny Allan has got to go," workers chanted on Friday, referring to Sensis' managing director John Allan.

Many wore yellow ponchos and clutched yellow paper planes as they marched to state parliament.

The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) says the cuts are unnecessary as Telstra has just declared a record $1.6 billion half year profit, and that Sensis made the company $685 million last year.

"We don't accept that Telstra has an argument to make these cuts," AMWU state secretary Steve Dargavel told the crowd.

"This is a business that is functional and profitable."

Sensis online production specialist Paul Dwyer, one of the Melbourne workers facing the axe, says the company has offered him a role in India to train some of the staff who will replace him.

"It's just slap in the face after slap in the face," he told AAP.

Mr Dargavel said with Telstra bound under federal law to produce the Yellow and White pages through Sensis, the Australian Greens are proposing to put an amendment to parliament to ensure that production work is kept in Australia.

Sensis has said the job cuts are needed as it restructures its businesses for the digital age.

The company suffered a 12.5 per cent decline in revenue in the six months to December 2012.


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