Jobs lost at Wollongong Stellar call centre

Nearly 60 workers at Wollongong's Stellar call centre have been left without a job after Telstra decided not to renew its long-term contract with the operator.

Dozens of staff at Stellar's Burelli Street office answered their last call for the telco giant on Wednesday afternoon, just three months after Telstra announced 116 staff would be axed from the Wollongong operation.

A Community and Public Sector Union spokesman told the Mercury the call centre had managed to save 60 jobs in the wake of the news, deploying workers to other Stellar business in the office.

But the other 56 jobs could not be saved and workers were made redundant this week.

CPSU president Michael Tull sympathised with their plight, noting many workers now faced an uncertain future.

"There are fewer and fewer alternative sources of work in regional Australia and the number of jobs in telcos and in call centres is dropping rapidly as companies like Telstra shift more of their work offshore," he said.

"We estimate that in the last few years, 50,000 customer contact jobs have left the country and sadly these workers at Stellar in Wollongong are the latest to feel it."

South Coast Labour Council secretary Arthur Rorris said any job losses in the region were bad news.

"We should be creating jobs, not destroying them," he said.

"I fail to see how customer service is going to improve when we're reducing staffing levels.

"The only positive out of this is that, through the efforts of the union, we've been able to save some of these jobs but it doesn't take away from the fact that we're seeing a real contraction in the services sector."

A Telstra spokeswoman said a drop in calls to voice information services, as consumers used their smart phones and went online to find phone numbers and information, had led to the decision.

She told the Mercury the work would be carried out by operators in other regional areas that already supported the services.

"In the past two years calls to Voice Services [1234, Call Connect, Directory Assistance and International Directory Assistance] have fallen by around 35 per cent," the spokeswoman said.

"Stellar has done all that it could to support their staff through this difficult period."

Telstra also revealed in February that its Wollongong Sensis office, located on Crown Street, would close, causing 10 sales job losses.


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