E tū says Chorus enjoys profit as workers lose quality jobs

E tū says Chorus’s profit has been achieved at the expense of quality jobs and the integrity of ultrafast broadband (UFB) connections to homes and businesses.

The Chorus result coincides with cable company Broadspectrum announcing today it will exit its connection contracts in Hamilton, Christchurch, Nelson, Blenheim, Rotorua, Taupo, and Whakatane.

The move will affect 119 jobs, including 35 designers and about 50 technicians, with a net loss of about 65 jobs at this stage.

E tū Industry Coordinator Joe Gallagher says the connection contracts will be picked up by Australian company, Universal Communications Group (UCG), which uses an owner-operator model favoured by Chorus because it cuts costs and enhances their profits.

He expects most of the designers will find new jobs with Broadspectrum which will in future focus on laying UFB cables, as well as maintenance of the legacy copper network.

But he says it’s a different story for the technicians.

“UCG’s owner-operator model will effectively require the technicians to “buy” their new jobs.

“They’ll have to purchase their own vehicle and equipment, at great cost,” says Joe.

“In many cases, people will have to borrow the money for the equipment, but there is no guarantee of sufficient work to pay the bills and ensure a decent living,” he says.

“I think a lot of people will walk away because they can’t afford it.”

Joe says it’s likely much of the work will be picked up instead by unskilled migrants, with a resulting decline in the quality of home and business high-speed internet connections.  

“That’s abundantly clear by the situation in Auckland where complaints about installations number in the hundreds,” says Joe.

Joe says the sub-contracting of the work is a direct result of Chorus refusing to properly fund companies like Broadspectrum to build and connect the UFB network.  

“Chorus can wash its hands of any responsibility for this work by keeping contracts at arms-length, leaving companies like UCG to hammer down costs on their behalf.

“No one benefits here except Chorus.”

ENDS

For further information, contact:

Joe Gallagher E tū Industry Coordinator ph. 027 591 0015