London, UK, May 29, 2020 -- Contact centres are well known to be high pressure, low pay working environments.
With the coronavirus lockdown pushing more and more businesses to remote working, the demands on the UK’s call centre staff are only increasing, bringing with it a huge amount of pressure.
In the midst of this the Communication Workers Union is pushing to address this and improve pay and conditions for our many contact centre members across the country.
The CWU is campaigning for a fair deal for UK Contact centre workers, and has set out a new charter outlining the principles they are campaigning for and encouraging workers to make sure they can get representation when they need it.
The UK contact centre industry is a significant and growing sector, employing over 650,000 customer agents or over 2% of the working population. The industry employs around 200,000 customer agents in the communications and finance sectors combined.
Like staff at centres around the world, anyone working in a South Yorkshire only, Doncaster, Barnsley, Rotherham or Sheffield call centre will know the intense pressure and often difficult environment created by trying to help people through often difficult moments.
For the CWU, it is unacceptable that these staff very often find themselves working without adequate breaks, or with no sense of financial or job security, despite the fact that their work is vital to their employers.
In a bid to address this, the CWU has created the Contact Centre Charter, and is encouraging staff to join them in ensuring it becomes an industry standard for employers.
This charter sets out a number of principles which the CWU is campaigning for throughout UK contact centres.
It includes having pay levels which appropriately reflect skills, responsibilities and worth of the job, with premium pay for evenings, weekends and public holidays.
They also want employees to have skills, training and career structures to support meaningful career progression, and make it a priority for companies to retain and retrain existing staff in new technologies or products.
The CWU is pressing for a minimum 12 hours rest every day and 48 hours continuous break every week for employees, and the chance for staff to have a say in their hours and shifts.
Contact centre managers are also being pressed to ensure they have a sufficient number of staff to meet demand, to avoid placing undue pressure on an under-strength workforce.
And they are being encouraged to provide protection for workers to avoid eyestrain and voice and hearing loss, including visual display risk assessments and ten-minute screen breaks at least every two hours, adequate light, ventilation, air filtering and heating systems
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
About Communication Workers Union:
The Communication Workers Union (CWU) is the main trade union in the United Kingdom for people working for telephone, cable, DSL and postal delivery companies. It has 204,500 members.
Published: Monday, June 1, 2020
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