has revealed plans to consolidate its call centers as the latest step in its efforts to slash its workforce, although it remains unclear how many jobs will be cut through this move.
The carrier said it will close two of its three Australian call centers – those in Brisbane and Melbourne – and retain only its center in Hobart. The airline is examining all facets of its operations as it looks to cut 5,000 workers to help stem spiraling losses.
Qantas employes 200 workers at the Brisbane call center, which is due to close by 2016, and 250 in Melbourne, which will be shuttered by mid-2015. However, not all of these jobs will necessarily be cut, as the airline has offered to relocate workers from the two facilities to the remaining call center in Hobart – which is in the southern-most state of Tasmania.
The airline is “still at the beginning of the expression of interest process for employees, and for that very reason we’re not able to say how many redundancies will ultimately be required,” a Qantas spokesman told Aviation Week. Similarly, the carrier is not yet putting a cost-savings figure on the closures.
The Australian Services Union believes that the number of additional workers required at the Hobart center will be a lot less than the workforce from the two facilities that will be closed. The ASU has vowed to fight the call center closures, and is due to meet with the airline on May 29.
Qantas said the closure decision follows a three-month review of this part of its operations. It determined that running three separate domestic call centers in different states was “simply not efficient,” particularly as increasing numbers of customers are booking online. The volume of phone calls to these centers has halved since 2005, the airline said.
Hobart was “the logical choice” for the consolidated center, due to its modern facilities, available space, more attractive operating costs, and support from the Tasmanian state government.
A Qantas call center in Auckland, New Zealand will not be affected by the closures. This facility mostly handles calls from outside Australia, although it does handle some from within Australia. The ASU said this center’s capacity has been expanded recently.