Transurban to offshore call centre staff after cutting 100 Brisbane jobs

Transurban to offshore call centre staff

Transurban to offshore call centre staff

From the Editor: It was just last week that Transurban Group General Manager Queensland, Wes Ballantine, was telling us that the job losses in Brisbane were a result of more customers using self-service and “it’s difficult when people’s jobs are affected by changes in customer behaviour”.

Well, it turns out Ballantine was telling us one big lie.

The Courier-Mail is now reporting that Transurban will be outsourcing their contact centre services to the Philippines.

That’s pretty appalling behaviour if I’ve ever seen it.

Transurban was clearly hoping that the general public would buy the excuse of more people going online rather than the fact they are simply looking to send the call centre jobs offshore to save money.

The Courier-Mail article is below:

TOLL roads operator Transurban will outsource jobs to the Philippines after slashing two-thirds of the staff at its Brisbane-based call centre.

There was no mention of the outsourcing plan when the company announced up to 100 redundancies last week. It instead attributed the cuts to changing consumer behaviour, with more motorists paying online or at self-service outlets.

In a statement at the time, group general manager Wes Ballantine said the company would “partner with Transurban Group’s existing call centre provider in other parts of Australia to give the flexibility needed to deal with declining consumer demand for the service’’.

But yesterday he confirmed that more than half of the 150,000 phone inquiries a month would be directed to a call centre in Manila.

The move has infuriated union bosses.

“This is a major company avoiding the obligations of Australian employers in terms of minimum wages and working hours by offshoring these jobs,’’ Together union assistant secretary Irene Monro said.

Mr Ballantine dismissed the claim, saying: “This absolutely has been done for customer service improvement, not cost reduction.’’

The vast majority of the redundancies would be voluntary, he said.

Transurban’s toll networks in Sydney and Melbourne have been using the Philippines call centre, operated by Salmat, since 2010.

The company said about 50 call centre staff would be retained at its Eight Mile Plains base in Brisbane to handle complex or ‘’escalated’’ calls.

Ms Monro said: “Only those where angry people are shouting and screaming will go to the poor people left in Brisbane.”

The cuts will also mean the closure of the customer service centre at Murarrie, leaving motorists with nowhere to go for face-to-face inquiries about toll issues.

transurban CEO Scott Charlton 2
Unpopular decision. Scott Charlton CEO of Transurban announces Transurban to offshore call centre staff to the Philippines causing public outrage.

The number of outlets where drivers can pay tolls or buy tags will increase from 400 to 950, with the addition of 7-Eleven and other service stations.

“It’s all well and good to ask people to visit local corner stores or Australia Post to top up cards,’’ Ms Monro said.

“The community experience is that people have questions — people question tolls, people have a right to be able to talk to someone in person about these matters.’’

Transurban paid the state-government-owned Queensland Investment Corporation $7 billion for the tolling rights to the Gateway and Logan motorways, CLEM7 tunnel, Go-Between Bridge and the yet-to-open Legacy Way tunnel.

“While this was managed by the QIC, there was never any risk of jobs or data going offshore,’’ Ms Monro said.

“In the first year of this takeover, people are losing their jobs.’

Recommended further reading: Do customers really care about the location of the call centre?

Find a list of overseas call centre outsourcers who service Australian companies on the free CX Directory >>>

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