Monday, September 17, 2012

News: Unions criticise contact centre outsourcing


Unions have expressed their disappointment at the decision by O2 and Telefonica to work with Capita to transfer already outsourced call centre jobs to South Africa, a move that affects 200 FTE jobs in Rotherham.

In a £65m deal last year, Capita, the UK's leading outsourcing company, purchased Ventura, a customer contact specialist and employer of thousands of people in the Dearne Valley.

In July, Capita acquired Full Circle, a leading contact centre solutions business based in Cape Town, South Africa, in a £1m deal.

Unions claim that this had lead to the decision to use the South African centre to handle front line O2 work from this autumn. Work currently already outsourced to Capita in the Dearne Valley.

Sally Bridge, assistant secretary at the Communication Workers Union (CWU), said: "We view the decision to off-shore up to 200 full-time equivalent jobs by Telefónica O2 to Cape Town as a significant shift in current policy by the UK board.

"At a time when other telecom and IT companies are bringing work back from abroad due to the negative impact on company brand this is not a direction that we believe the company should be taking. This move will do little to instil any confidence amongst our members."

A spokesperson from the Prospect Union, added: "One of O2's important selling points has been that all calls from UK customers are handled by UK staff. We believe it is a serious misjudgement at a time of high unemployment in the UK to compromise this customer advantage and transfer calls overseas. Our members are telling us it reflects old ways of thinking, not new."

A spokesperson for Capita said: "We use a number of outsourced partners to help us manage customer enquiries and it's a natural step for us to look at other countries for this type of work. Capita will run the centre and help us understand the business benefits and the customer experience."

The award-winning Manvers contact centre has worked with organisations such as Orange, British Gas and British Midland and Capita has stated that it intends to find other posts for the workers affected by the transfer.

Capita website


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