News : Capita Sacks Call Centre Worker Following ‘Unfair' Complaint
May 27, 2014 -- A mother who was sacked from her job at a Capita call centre after a Barnet councillor complained about her has accused the "rude and aggressive" member of unfairly exploiting his political power.
Remi Nunu had been working at the call centre in Coventry, which deals with calls to Barnet Council, for nearly two months and was on probation when she received a call two weeks ago from an "abrupt and rude" councillor asking to speak to an officer from the highways department.
The council's call centres were outsourced to private firm Capita last year as part of its customer services contract.
The married mother-of-one said that at that time the call centre did not have easy access to all officer's direct lines, and staff had been instructed to provide the number to the main department if they could not reach the individual staff member.
She told The Press: "I couldn't find the number that he wanted and he was very abrupt and rude when I couldn't find it and said I would have to put him through to the department.
"In the end I said it was company policy that we don't have every number. In retrospect it was really silly thing say it but he kept going on and on. He was very abrupt and quite aggressive.
"I put him on hold and actually found the number and by that time he had hung up."
The following week the 30-year-old, who took the job to support her studies towards becoming a dietician, was called into a meeting with Capita's contract manager, who acts as the company's liaison with the council.
The manger showed her a transcript of the telephone conversation with the councillor, who has not been named, and informed Mrs Nunu that a complaint had been made about her via the authority's chief executive, Andrew Travers. She was dismissed immediately.
"He said it was unacceptable that the councillor was complaining to the chief executive," said Mrs Nunu. "There was no mention of gross misconduct, nothing was handed to me in paper form, I don't think the meeting was recorded and I wasn't give a written letter if dismissal."
Since it was taken over by Capita as part of the One Barnet programme, the council's customer services department has been plagued by problems, with residents waiting on hold indefinitely or being misdirected.
Mrs Nunu, who lives with her husband Daniel, 32, and two year-old son Elijah, said: "They were worried that this councillor was saying Capita are cr*p and don't know what they are doing.
"I felt it was unfair because that system hasn't been working and we are getting blamed for it. Basically I got sacked because the councillor wasn't happy that I couldn't find the number and because he has got political power. He has thrown his weight around and things have happened."
She added: "The reason I took the job was to support my family. Had I not had a husband who was supportive of me I would have been in a great predicament. I would have had to go on benefits."
A Capita spokeswoman said: "Although we can’t comment on individual cases, we expect the highest standards of conduct and behaviour from all employees. If our employees do not meet our high expectations then we investigate and take the appropriate action, and in every case we follow strict procedures regarding disciplinary procedures, up to and including dismissal."
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Thursday, May 29, 2014