Page MP Janelle Saffin is calling on the local community to join her campaign to stop Telstra axing local jobs.

Ms Saffin has condemned the announcement by Telstra Business that they are planning to close the Grafton call centre which employs about 108 people.

Today Ms Saffin launched a petition calling on CEO David Thodey to intervene and put the brakes on this decision

“Telstra has started discussions with staff about the possible closure of the Grafton call centre, and to add insult to injury it says they may offer relocation to Melbourne or Brisbane where the jobs are being created,” she said.

“This is an appalling way to treat staff, and is cruel and unnecessary. It shows Telstra Business is abandoning regional NSW and regional Australia.

“How can we have faith in Telstra as a corporate citizen in meeting our needs in regional Australia when they treat us in such a callous way?

“I encourage local people to sign my petition, or ring and write and email Telstra and make their views heard.

“In particular I call on Telstra shareholders to use their shareholder power to stop the loss of jobs.

“I know local shareholders don’t want profit at the expense of local jobs, because job losses in our region affect us all.

“And I’ll be calling on my parliamentary colleagues from regional Australia to tell Telstra that it is not on to close regional call centres and move jobs to the city, because their region may be next.

“It is also most disturbing to see today’s report in the Daily Examiner quoting a Telstra spokesman as saying the Grafton centre was being closed because it is one of the most highly unionised.

“I recently attended a function to celebrate 10 years of Telstra Countrywide and we heard about how wonderful Telstra was in NSW. Now I wonder if I was there under false pretences.

“During the global financial crisis, local small businesses went to great lengths to keep staff on and support local jobs.

“It is unacceptable that this corporate giant can be considering cutting 108 jobs and dealing such a devastating blow to the local economy.”

Copies of the petition are available to print from Ms Saffin’s website www.janellesaffin.com.au