Unhappy call centre staff tell TUC of poor practice

The
TUC hotline to investigate workplace harassment in call centres received over
600 calls in its first two weeks of operation.

The
union says it has received calls from employees claiming they have to ask for
permission to go to the toilet and are monitored on how long they spend in
there.

There
have also been cases of staff not being able to take more than three days leave
in one go, and being forced to go into work to report in sick, claimed the TUC.

The
examples of poor workplace practices will form the basis of a report on call
centre standards and is part of the union’s campaign to improve conditions.

But
Hilary Campbell, HR director of outsourcing call centre company Vertex, said,
“According to my experiences I still believe that these are exceptions to the
rule.”  

However,
she added, “We took over a contract in Birmingham and Glasgow where staff had
been clocking in and out when going to the toilet.”

Call
centre operators have described the TUC campaign as a high-profile recruitment
exercise.

A
call centre HR director, who wished to remain nameless, said, “The number of
calls received by the TUC in the first week amounted to almost 400, which is
only 0.1 per cent of the 400,000 people currently employed in the industry in
the UK.”

John
Monks, general secretary of the TUC, said, “Many call centres already treat
their staff with respect and others are making a real effort to clean up their
act.

“But
these figures show there are still too many centres using bullying tactics to
pressurise and intimidate employees.”

The
hotline closed last Friday.

www.tuc.org.uk/yourcall

By
Paul Nelson

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