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New issue of Call Centre Worker March 31, 2010

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A new issue of Call Centre Worker is now available. It includes articles on organising at Atlantic Quay in Glasgow, a CWU Organising Fringe Meeting at the union’s conference, and details of the April 10th London organising meeting and April 23rd Love Music Hate Racism gig. Click the image below to download the PDF.

Email londoncallcentres@gmail.com to submit (anonymous) articles for this site or the bulletin, or to receive printed copies of Call Centre Worker.


Combative spirit as CWU activists meet March 31, 2010

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The first conference of CWU reps in the non-recognised sector epitomised the spirit of the new, young and combative activists in the movement beginning to make a serious challenge to the old bureaucrats that currently dominate the Telecoms Executive and Branches in the union.

One of a number of guest speakers, Professor Phil Taylor, Strathclyde Univeristy, set the tone for the conference by railing against BA union-buster Willie Walsh. He explained how our class is facing a serious attack on our services and education. Neo-liberal workplace models were developed in call-centres, and activists in these workplaces needed to organise. Increasingly the call-centre models with targets and performance management are being used right across industry and more so in the public sector. (more…)

Working with NL recruitment March 22, 2010

Posted by callcentreworker in charity calls, trade union.
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NL Recruitment is an agency that specialises in recruiting staff for many employers in the Call-Centre industry such as Sky and Morgan Stanley. NL advertises positions for workers in Customer Services, Fundraising, Tele-Marketing in London, Surrey and the North East.

Pell and Bales is one of NL Recruitment’s major clients in London.

Feedback from callers with NL is mixed.

One new caller said of NL that “they are very friendly and always happy to help with any problem you may have”.

Another caller was unable to attend the final training and NL was able to reschedule this with P&B.

However, there have been some problems with NL.

  • NL gave some new callers the impression that they had got a job with Pell and Bales when they were confirmed for training. It was only when arriving at Pell and Bales that they discovered that they would have to pass training.
  • Many callers are confused by the pay and holiday structure and would like a document that explained this in more detail
  • A separate company ISS provides the payroll service for NL. They are based in Guernsey and therefore have no UK tax liabilities. ISS does however tax callers employed by NL. NL callers, not NL, have 4% of their wages (the lowest in Pell and Bales) deducted for this “service”. That is why it is important that NL callers ensure that they claim their holiday entitlement and retain train and bus tickets, as travel costs can be claimed back. It is possible to claw back more than the 4% lost this way.

The issue of Pell and Bales using an agency who in turn uses an offshore payroll company that charges low-paid callers was raised by the CWU at a Staff Reps meeting a few years ago. Initially management told us that if they established that an agency they used charged callers for the payroll service they would end the contract with that agency. Once they had spoken to NL, at the following Staff Reps meeting they said that NL callers could be potentially better off. NL Recruitment became the sole agency for recruiting callers when Pell and Bales in-house recruitment team was disbanded in April 2009.

Our position is that if ISS are not paying UK tax, they can afford to waive the fee charged to NL callers and pay the lowest-paid callers a decent rate, decent holiday entitlement and re-imburse travel costs.

The CWU continues to campaign for all agency callers to be paid at least the London Living Wage, as recommended by the Mayor of London’s office of £7.60 per hour

If you are an agency worker at Pell and Bales and need some advice– let us know.

Another exclusive from the News of The Screws: charities in fundraising shock March 10, 2010

Posted by callcentreworker in charity calls.
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From a CWU member at Pell and Bales

A sordid, evil underground group named “The Callers” are asking people to help people that might be worse off than them – our intrepid reporter Lunchtime O’Loan exposes these filthy communists with their ideals of helping others

There is an enemy within our midsts. The phone rings. It could be a relative with some important news , or even more innocently it might be a friendly chap from a reputable satellite TV company wishing to inform you of a fantastic introductory offer on all the sports and movie channels, a HD box and a Marks and Sparks voucher.

Instead it’s a thief trying to get you to part with your money with no benefit to yourself. (more…)