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Sacked Sensis staff welcomed by new tech start-up

Monday, 25 February 2013 | By Michelle Hammond

The chief executive of Melbourne-based tech start-up Miiy has offered to find positions for retrenched Sensis staff within his company, which is developing a range of business services.


Sensis, the advertising subsidiary of Telstra, is cutting almost 700 jobs from its 3,500-strong workforce in a bid to speed up the transition from print to digital-focused businesses.


Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne are expected to bear the brunt of the extensive job cuts, which were announced earlier this month.


Almost 400 jobs are expected to be sent overseas to call centres in the Philippines or India – a move labelled “disgraceful” by the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union.


While the majority of retrenched workers are in backroom and sales roles, senior and middle managers will also lose their jobs.


Stephen Prideaux, chief executive of Miiy, says there appears to be no regard for local employment from a company making “extremely large profits” in the Australian economy.


Keen to rectify the situation in some way, Prideaux has offered to find positions for some of the retrenched Sensis staff within new IT business Miiy, which is in the early stages of launch.


Miiy was founded by Leon Davies and Rick Hodgskiss, who then hired Prideaux as chief executive. Prideaux is the former vice president of Blockbuster Australasia.


The start-up is about to launch a platform called MiiyLocal – an up-to-the-minute business directory service offering savings coupons. Prideaux says there’s room in the company for retrenched Sensis staff.


“We will be in a position to provide permanent jobs for around 20 to 30 people in the coming months as the MiiyLocal Directory is launched,” he says.


“Whilst that doesn’t satisfy the complete job loss at Sensis, we are looking forward to assisting in some way.”


According to Prideaux, MiiyLocal comprises the “very best” of leading applications – such as TrueLocal, Yellow Pages, Yelp and Foursquare – and rolls them into one, easy-to-use website.


MiiyLocal also comes in the form of an Android app and an iPhone app.


Consumers can download the apps from the App Store or Google Play, while business owners can register their details at the MiiyLocal website.


“The site aims to help users find ‘MiiyLocal’ pub, chemist, florist, bottle shop, doctor, pizza shop, video [shop, etc.],” Prideaux says.


“[MiiyLocal] allows stores to push vouchers, deals and coupons to prospective purchasers.


“Consumers can check in, update their social networks when they use vouchers, and write reviews on the business.


“In fact, every business can have their own mini website within the system featuring the brands they sell, the services they provide, trading hours, photographs and much, much more, all from less than $1 per day.”