O2 Outsourcing Decision a “betrayal” says CWU

Responding to Telefonica o2’s announcement today that it will outsource thousands of call centre jobs and make hundreds redundant from four sites – Bury, Glasgow, Leeds and Preston Brook (near Warrington) – to outsource giant Capita, the Communication Workers Union has branded the decision a “mistake” and “betrayal of staff who have built the company”.

Up to 600 people will be made redundant and over 3,000 will transfer to Capita with no guarantees on their terms, conditions or job security. In total 3,670 jobs are affected. CWU has asked o2 to reconsider and is concerned that pay rates will fall to £7 an hour.

CWU has been told the work will transfer from 1st July 2013 giving just 41 days notice – the usual period for such a large number of jobs has been 90 days. Staff are due to be told this morning. O2 work was off-shored to South Africa last year where Capita has operations.

Andy Kerr, CWU deputy general secretary, said: “People are being dispensed with in a cold accountancy exercise designed to save money. This is a betrayal of the staff who have built this company and made it successful.

“We’re gravely concerned about the future of these jobs as how will savings be made if not through attacks on jobs and terms and conditions? These are decent jobs paying around £3 an hour more than other Capita call centre staff. A cut in pay would be bad news for the local economy in these areas and a disaster for families.

“We have been presented with a fait accompli. There has not been and apparently won’t be any meaningful negotiation or opportunity to influence the terms of transfer or negotiate on behalf of our members. We’ve got no guarantees on the stability of jobs and terms and conditions – all we’ve been told is that this will be up to Capita. That’s not much to cling to.

“Given the gravity of this situation for our members we cannot rule out industrial action.”

Rumours of outsourcing have plagued call centre staff for weeks. CWU wrote to CEO Ronan Dunn last week asking him to clear up speculation about outsourcing.

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine
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