Call Centres

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2014 Energy Service Group Conference
1 January 2014

This Conference congratulates UNISON’s hard work to create the Call Centre Charter, launched in 2012, which calls on all employers who have UNISON members working in a call centre or in call handling operations to commit to improving the standards which those staff operate under.

However only one energy company has signed up to it so far and we believe that a renewed effort is needed to promote it and keep our jobs here in the UK, with decent terms and conditions for all.

Raising awareness of the charter and of UNISON’s role in its development is a valuable recruitment and organising tool in energy branches, where members and potential members may not be aware of the impact that a strong union presence can have on their working conditions – whether they work in a call centre or for one of the outsourced companies within the service group.

Conference is also concerned at the continued use of offshore call centres, despite clear customer preference for UK based call handlers, even at the cost of longer waiting times. Research has shown that the vast majority of customers believe that offshoring is driven purely by profit motives, and not from a company’s desire to provide a better service to their customers. We also need this charter to protect our disabled members as it is generally their roles that are being moved “off shore”.

Conference we call upon the Service Group Executive to:

i) Re-invigorate promotion of the call centre charter to branches, and encourage them to utilise the knowledge and skills of UNISON reps and branch officers within the companies to negotiate with other companies to sign up to the charter.

ii) Ensure that branches have the necessary advice and guidance to support them in negotiating reasonable working standards in line with the charter.

iii) Continue to oppose offshoring of call centre services.