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Two call centre workers’ meetings in London April 20, 2010

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Two important meetings took place on Saturday 10th in the capital as call-centre workers met to discuss the campaign for union rights in their industry.

First, the CWU Pell and Bales Section AGM, where the guest speaker, a CWU rep from a Docklands-based telecoms firm talked about how he and his engineer workmates won union recognition in 2003.

He explained how when he started work there,  there was no union. But soon there was a core of a few activists that started to  organise  and they found that the biggest recruiter to the union was the management. There were a lot of grievances, particularly with pay.

London engineers could not understand why it was that their London weighting allowance and shift allowance were tied up in their pay, yet their pay matched that of engineers doing the same job in Manchester. “I know that Central London is in Zone 1,” he told one manager, “but what zone is Manchester in?”

As the campaign intensified, management offered a shift allowance of £2,000.  But this was seen as a victory and workers confidence grew and the CWU members at Telecity won recognition in 2003.

Buoyed by references to Mark Serwotka’s , the PCS union leader, interview in the Guardian, headlined ‘Call centres are the new dark satanic mills’, the AGM resolved to campaign for pay increases across all sites, oppose cuts in hours for zero hour staff and press for recognition.

The AGM was followed by the Call-Centre Worker meeting. Casual zero hour contracts were a real problem. Leading off the discussion, a worker from a market research company, told of how the company has no work for their agents for six weeks.

A guest speaker from the Right To Work Campaign, also a bus driver and Unite rep in London, spoke about how important Busworker has been in organising workers and hopes to make links with Call-Centre Worker. He also encouraged those assembled to sign up for the Right To Work Emergency conference in May, which he believed would be vital in organising resistance to whichever Government tries to attack workers living standards and public services.

An editorial board of eight workers in the industry was elected for Call-Centre Worker. As Call-Centre Worker expands, we hope to get more call-centre workers involved on the board.

Share your experiences on this blog anonymously; write to londoncallcentres@gmail.com.

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10th April Call Centre Worker meeting April 9, 2010

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Important Notice

There is a change to the venue for the Pell and Bales section Annual General Meeting and the Call-Centre Worker Meeting on Saturday 10 April.

The Call-Centre Worker Meeting starts at 7pm at The Royal Star, 220 City Road, London (nearest tube Old St) just past Moorfields Eye Hospital.

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.

Call centre worker – issue 1 out now! July 11, 2009

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The first issue of Call centre worker, a bulletin by and for call centre workers, is now available. The bulletin is meant to suit all call centres regardless of industry or union, and features news and info from different workplaces.

ccw1

This issue has an article about why we should organise, another on the story of the victimisations at Carphone Warehouse and a Charter of call centre workers’ demands.

Email londoncallcentres@gmail.com if you want to write for a future issue (anything about conditions at your workplace, stories of organising or management behaviour) or to be sent printed copies to hand out at your workplace. You can also print off copies from the PDF!