Telecom could soon announce the loss of about 1500 jobs, Labour says.
The news comes as the Department of Conservation is expected to announce job cuts as part of a major restructuring next week.
Labour communications spokeswoman Clare Curran said in Parliament yesterday that Telecom was set to announce the loss of "up to 1500 jobs". She later clarified that meant "close to" 1500 jobs and said even that could be "a conservative figure".
Ms Curran would not give her source for the job loss number, saying it was from "somebody who knows".
"Losing this number of jobs from a single employer is the biggest job loss ever in New Zealand from a single company. It's unprecedented," she said.
Industry sources told Fairfax that Ms Curran's figure may not be far out.
EPMU organiser Joe Gallagher said today he expected the cuts would be in Telecom's city offices rather than in the regions. In Nelson, Telecom's field work was contracted out to Transfield which was not restructuring.
Telecom chief executive Simon Moutter announced in February that the company would axe "hundreds of jobs" this year and did not rule out more than 1000 jobs going.
Telecom spokesman Andrew Pirie said yesterday that no final figure had been decided but did not scotch Ms Curran's estimate.
Telecom would make a statement when it settled on a figure, which he expected would be within "weeks" rather than months.
The cuts, across the board at Telecom, will come on top of the net loss of 373 permanent positions at the company this year. Telecom employed 7603 full-time equivalents in February.
A spokeswoman for Economic Development minister Steven Joyce said last night that the minister had not been updated by Telecom on job losses since the company made its February announcement.
"While it is always difficult for those that lose their jobs, the ICT sector is the sector of the economy with the highest demand for skilled employees right now," the spokeswoman said.
A major revamp at the Department of Conservation, including job losses, will be announced on Tuesday and director-general Al Morrison has indicated it will hit staff hard.
DOC last night came third in the annual Randstad awards for the most attractive employers to jobseekers, with Mr Morrison saying on stage at the ceremony: "This is slightly embarrassing. Next week we're going to announce a major restructuring and a lot of people are going to get hurt."
The restructuring is part of a national review of 1200 staff roles that is part of a drive to save about $9 million a year.
Spokesman Rory Newsam said operational biodiversity and recreational staff from area managers and regional conservators-down could be affected.
Staff would have two to three weeks to give their feedback to managers before a final decision was made. Mr Newsam said it was too early to say how many staff could be affected by the changes.
"DOC will not release the details until they are put to staff," he said.
The roles of 1200 operational staff, from rangers to conservators, across the country were part of the review, but it did not mean all their jobs would be affected, he added.
However, Mr Newsam told the Nelson Mail last October he did not rule out the reorganisation of offices and workers under the review.
Last year DOC appointed commercial business development, outreach and engagement managers across its seven conservancy offices as it moved to form partnerships with the community and businesses on conservation efforts.
DOC's operating budget for last financial year was $335m - $25m less than 2008. In 2009, DOC was told its budget would be annually capped at $13.5m less for the next four years. But in 2012-13 it faced a further $11.5m cut in income from the Government.
DOC's move to rationalise its operational staff was criticised by Forest and Bird top of the south field officer Debs Martin. She said the risk was that large back-country projects would be ignored while staff focused on low-risk destination sites and community liaison.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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