The fresh merger between Vodafone Australia and Hutchison Australia’s 3 has revealed its first round of casualties with the announcement that it is off-shoring its call center operations to India. Up to 450 jobs have been made redundant as a result of the decision.
The current Australia-based call center operator Service Stream confirmed that the merged carrier planned to end its contract in October, which involves 450 staff in customer service and support roles.
Vodafone Hutchison announced that it will relocate the bulk of those 450 call center jobs to India. Around 100 jobs will stay in Australia but will be moved to another company in Tasmania.
The joint venture has a call center located at Malad in Mumbai jointly run by 3UK and 3 Australia. The Mumbai operation employs 1800 people, Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) said.
The move comes three months after Vodafone Australia Limited and Hutchison 3G Australia formed a 50/50 joint venture.
VHA CEO Nigel Dews said “the opportunity to use our combined scale to enhance our customer service capabilities is an important outcome for the Vodafone Hutchison Australia merger.”
Unions fear that staff cuts are merely the first round of further rationalization. However, the carrier has yet to reveal more details of the consolidation structure and staffing.
Meanwhile, UK consumer groups are calling for an investigation into the planned merger of France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom amid fears that it could damage the quality of phone services.
Lawyers have warned that it may result in reduced competition. UK consumer magazine Which? warns that the merger could slow the rate of the fall in mobile prices. Analysts Consumer Focus have aired concerns that without a competitive market there will not be sufficient downward pressure on prices, the FT reports.