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Starhub details restructuring plan, 300 full-time employees to be affected

Starhub has released details of its restructuring exercise announced by CEO Peter Kaliaropoulos at a recent staff communications session. Approximately 300 full-time employees are expected to be hit as a result of the workforce reductions, primarily in non-customer facing functions.

The telco is expecting to incur a one-off restructuring cost of approximately S$25 million, which includes funding to support outplacement, training and coaching. "Support will also be provided in terms of comprehensive career transition and outplacement counselling, including coaching and skills upgrading programmes," StarHub clarified in a statement.

It added: "Ongoing natural attrition and tighter management of contractor roles will result in additional roles being made redundant. StarHub will start notifying employees as soon as practical (subject to compliance with statutory reporting and regulatory requirements) and no later than the end of October 2018."

StarHub’s CEO, Peter Kaliaropoulos (Peter K), said: "Such decisions are never taken lightly. I am very aware of the impact on all our employees, and we are making every effort to support those impacted through this challenging transition."

He clarified that the redundancies are not an individual performance issue but one of strategic realignment of StarHub, adding: "We have been extremely fortunate to have many competent people in our team but some positions are not sustainable given the current industry pressures."

In the meantime, Sylvia Choo, executive secretary, Singapore Industrial and Services Employees’ Union (SISEU), has confirmed that SISEU has been consulted by StarHub on its restructuring exercise, and the union will work closely with management on fair treatment and compensation for the affected staff.

"Our immediate priority is to ensure that affected employees will have a smooth transition to their next job. Together with NTUC’s e2i (Employment and Employability Institute), we will also work with our partners – Infocomm Media Development Authority and Workforce Singapore – to offer employment assistance such as in job searching, career coaching and employability training," she said.

ALSO READ: Why Singapore is not in favour of mandatory retrenchment benefits

More on StarHub's overall strategic transformation plan, the firm will continue to invest in new businesses such as the recently created cyber-security company (Ensign InfoSecurity); in digitalisation initiatives for customer experience; and in wireless and fibre services to deliver content and applications. The company will also accelerate investments in developing ICT capabilities for enterprise customers.

The need for the operational efficiency programme has been put down to "inevitable pressures from intense local competition and adverse industry trends", and includes measures to to improve productivity, speed in decision making and lower operating expenditure across the board, thus resulting in the expected layoffs.

The programme is expected to realise S$210 million in savings over a three-year period from 2019. In addition to job cuts, StarHub is targeting savings in procurement, leasing costs, spending in network and systems repairs and maintenance, and overall sales and distribution expenses.

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