Call Centre Charter – how far have we come?

Back to all Motions

2017 Energy Service Group Conference
27 February 2017

Conference notes the increasing numbers of our energy members working in call centres. Call centres can leave workers chained to their workstations under extreme pressure to provide faster responses to more and more callers.

Conference welcomes UNISON’s Call Centre Charter, launched in 2012, to seek to establish a decency agenda for these members, allowing them to work effectively and efficiently in safe work environments. This followed research for UNISON into call centre work which found high levels of workplace stress, bullying and harassment, leading to higher than average levels of sickness absence.

Conference notes that while any worker can be subject to bullying and harassment, it disproportionately affects certain groups of workers including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) workers. UNISON’s first annual equality survey, conducted over the summer of 2016, found that LGBT members faced particularly high levels of discrimination even amongst these survey respondents, most of whom were from disadvantaged groups. Two thirds of trans workers and a third of LGB members had experienced or witnessed workplace discrimination in the past year. This compares to a quarter of all members responding.

Our energy members working in call centres report a range of issues including anti-LGBT abuse from callers. This is made worse by not being taken seriously by managers. Our LGBT members have little confidence in their managers’ willingness or ability to address such abuse.

Conference believes it is time to review and refresh our work on the Call Centre Charter. Conference calls on the energy service group executive, working with the business and environment equal opportunities working group, to:

1)Survey energy branches on whether their employer has signed up to the charter;

2)If so, investigate:

a) how it is being implemented and

b)Whether it makes specific reference to tackling anti-LGBT abuse;

3. Urge training for managers and staff on LGBT equality issues and combating harassment and bullying;

4. Work with branches where the employer has not adopted the charter to negotiate its implementation.