BT’s plans to return call-centre jobs to the UK from India could backfire as British staff are unwilling to work the hours required.
According to The Times, the telecommunications giant said it was preparing to move at least 2,000 call centre jobs back to the UK, to provide work for its permanent staff here.
But unions warned employees could be forced to change their working hours to meet the level of coverage provided by workers in India, which is 4.5 hours ahead of the UK.
The rota changes would also require staff to work on Saturdays and Sundays until 11pm, and unions said it would be unfair to expect UK staff with families to adopt these hours.
A spokesman for BT, which last week announced it would close its graduate recruitment scheme, told the newspaper it was “essential that we are there when our customers wish to do business with us”.
He added: “We have been in discussion with the Communication Workers Union in order to gain their support to begin a process of seeking, as far as possible, to reflect the hours currently undertaken by our partners outside the UK.”
A spokesman for the Communication Workers Union said: “We welcome the return of work from India. We are working with the company to establish how this is going to work in practice.”
However, a BT spokesman told Personnel Today the firm had already brought back positions from India to the UK without any issues regarding working hours. But he did not confirm how many jobs had been returned, nor how many positions would be brought back in future.
He said: “BT has already brought back work from India with no issues surrounding working hours and we plan to bring more back over time. We are working closely with the union who have been supportive of our plans. BT has a responsibility to find work for its permanent workforce and this is just one measure it is taking to protect its direct workforce.”
[Story edited at 13:02pm]