Call centres in UK among worst in EU

Lack of regulation means call centre staff in the UK suffer worse working conditions than their counterparts on the Continent.

A study published by European Industrial Relations Review looked at staff conditions in call centres in 15 countries. It found they were better in countries where a “restricting legal environment” regulates working time and opening hours.

The report’s author Andrea Broughton said that staff in countries including Belgium, Denmark and Finland – where there are strong collective agreements – are usually employed on permanent contracts and enjoy the same terms and conditions as employees in other sectors. She said controversy over the working conditions of call centre staff is widespread in only a few countries including the UK.

Broughton links this to the relatively high number of call centres in the UK and that they can be operated with less regulation than those in the rest of Europe.

Another survey by Incomes Data Services found some call centres in the UK have turnover rates as high as 80 per cent, although the average is 20 per cent. It recommends improving conditions by allowing staff to spend more time off the phone.

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