News : Airdrie Call Centre Workers Toilet Breaks are Cruelly Limited
Airdrie, UK, Oct 13, 2015 -- Several employees from the minimum wage Teleperformance call centre on Victoria Place have voiced concerns over the alleged policy.
Workers at the call centre in Airdrie are at odds with their employer over claims their toilet breaks have been limited to just seven minutes a day.
A number of employees from Teleperformance on Victoria Place have contacted the Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser to voice their disgust over the "inhumane" policy – with one even comparing the workplace to the fictional prison from the movie The Shawshank Redemption.
However the global firm has dismissed the claims and insist that no such policy exists at any of their sites across the UK.
Several employees, who asked not to be named for fear of losing their jobs, claim that when a worker wants to go to the toilet they must push a button on their phone to activate "personal time". No calls then come through to their phone.
The whistleblowers insist that the 500-strong workforce, who carry out eight-and-a-half hour daily shifts, are limited to just seven minutes of "personal time", out with their allocated break times each day.
If they exceed this amount they are notified at a monthly review and are told they must work the time back or their wages will be docked.
And when these employees were informed by the Advertiser that Teleperformance had denied the suggestion that any such policy exists they expressed anger and disbelief.
One fumed: "I am extremely surprised to hear they are denying any existence of this policy. The main office are either lying about it or the decision has been taken locally and they are not aware.
"I can understand why they might not want people to know about something like this. It doesn’t reflect well on the company at all."
He added: "I am not a disgruntled employee by any means – I like working there. I simply think this policy is draconian, inhumane and just wrong. To limit everyone to seven minutes toilet break each day is very unfair.
"People are now wary about using the toilet as they are desperate not to exceed their seven minutes.
"I can see why they would have something like this in place – to improve performance and crack down on those who are away from their desks for long periods. But to target everyone with a blanket policy just isn’t right.
"There is a really bad atmosphere in the place since they started clamping down and many people say they’ve never seen morale so low. It’s a poor way to treat staff, in my opinion."
The work undertaken at the centre is sub-contracted by telecoms provider Virgin Media.
Another employee who works in the "Virgin Media project", and who also asked to remain anonymous, compared the workplace to the fictional prison.
He said: "There are team leaders who walk about with walkie talkies to keep any eye on you. It resembles a prison environment – like Shawshank. There are some people who may need to use the toilet for longer than others, and while I can understand why a policy like this may be in place, it isn’t right to target everyone in the same way."
Those who contacted the Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser insist the issue has been raised with senior staff.
However, William Carson, Head of Market Engagement at Teleperformance UK, said that the team on site at Airdrie had not been approached by any customer service representatives to discuss such issues.
He added that no such policy is in place at any Teleperformance site.
Similarly a spokesperson for Virgin Media said Teleperformance had "reassured" the company that no such policy exists.
However, MSP Alex Neil believes more dialogue is required to clarify the situation.
He said: "It is quite clear there is a difference of opinion. If the company clarifies what the policy is to all its employees, and they are clear that they understand it, the problem should resolve itself."
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Thursday, October 15, 2015