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Issue #1506      22 June 2011

AMWU hits out at Telstra as PMP’s White Pages print run slashed

The Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) has called on Telstra and the government to please explain over “secret plans” that could mean massive cuts to the print run of the White Pages.

According to the union, Telstra’s Sensis subsidiary has been in talks with the government over plans to stop universal delivery of the telephone directory, which would have significant impacts on PMP’s Chullora plant. The site employs 130 union workers, who would likely be affected by any significant changes to the print volumes.

The Sydney printing plant produces White Pages and Yellow Pages under a contract that still has around five years to run. AMWU NSW secretary Tim Ayres told ProPrint the move was a “crude cost-cutting exercise” and that jobs will be at risk.

“Telstra are obligated to provide a functioning White Pages to every household in Australia. There is a relationship with the public that needs to be satisfied, and Telstra’s secret shift to a new approach certainly isn’t the right way to go about it,” he said.

The union claims Telstra’s print order for the 2011/12 White Pages for Melbourne has been cut by 90 percent, from nearly 1.4 million to 165,000.

PMP was unable to comment due to contractual obligations with Telstra. However, sources close to Telstra and the print giant confirmed these numbers.

Sensis denied the AMWU’s claims that it had been keeping the industry in the dark.

The Telstra subsidiary has confirmed it is running a “pilot change in the distribution process” for the White Pages in Melbourne and Sydney.

“Sensis has been transparent and engaged stakeholder groups including the Federal government, PMP the printer of the White Pages directory and consumer interest groups,” it said in a statement.

The pilot will mean a switch to an “opt-in” system for the directories. “Under the pilot, residents in these two cities will receive the White Pages Business and Government Book and would be invited to order a copy of the White Pages Residential Book – via telephone, online or they will be able to collect a copy from their local Australia Post outlet,” according to Sensis.

“The pilot does not include any plans to change the distribution of any other book, including the White Pages Business and Government Book, which will continue to be delivered to virtually every household in Australia.”  

Next article – Libs roll back anti-discrimination in Victoria

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