Strike Ballot Over O2 Outsourcing

CWU is holding a strike ballot for members working in Telefonica o2 call centres in Bury, Glasgow, Leeds and Preston Brook over plans to outsource jobs to Capita. Rumours of site closures and off-shoring work to South Africa and India have exacerbated attempts to achieve guarantees on job security and the future of these centres. The result is due on June 18.

Telefonica o2 announced last week that it will outsource around 3,500 jobs to outsource giant Capita. Sites with customer service call centres based in Bury, Glasgow, Leeds and Preston Brook are all affected. Despite some assurances over job security given to staff and CWU, documents leaked to the Telegraph newspaper allegedly show Capita plans to close Bury and Glasgow’s centres and to offshore significant levels of work with hundreds of UK job losses.

Andy Kerr, CWU deputy general secretary, said: “This ballot is about protecting decent UK jobs. We’ve been forced to hold a ballot because of the unusually short consultation period and lack of progress on assurances over job security, terms and conditions, and the future of sites.

“We wanted to have a negotiated way forward but our hands have been tied. We’re already two weeks into the 41 day consultation period and we’ve made no progress at all on key issues.

“Trust is at rock-bottom, made worse by media speculation around site closures and offshoring work. Our members don’t know who to trust and we feel like we’ve been lied to by o2 and Capita. We’ve been left no option by the company but to hold this ballot and they know this.”

Ballot timetable:

Ballot papers despatched: 7th June 2013 (First Class Post)

Closing Date: 18th June 2013

Declaration of Result: 18th June 2013

Demonstrations were held outside o2’s Preston Brook site near Warrington last week as o2 and Capita management were both on-site for ‘Big Yak’ meetings with staff. Donning masks of Telefonica UK boss Ronan Dunne and brandishing banners declaring ‘Done by Dunne’ and ‘NO2 closures’, members and union activists handed out leaflets as staff arrived at work.

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine

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