News : Unions Vow to Fight Shop Direct Call Centre Cuts
Bolton, UK, Sept 11, 2015 -- Union bosses have vowed to fight up to 700 redundancies at two call centres in Speke and Bolton operated for home shopping retailer Shop Direct.
Usdaw divisional officer Mike Aylward said the union's members were "shocked and outraged" by the decision.
Webhelp, which operates the call centres on behalf of Shop Direct, said yesterday (10 September 2015) it is proposing to close a site in Bolton by next spring and shut its Aintree operation by spring 2017.
The decision is expected to mean Webhelp UK's workforce operating on the Shop Direct account will reduce from 1,162 to 470 over the next 18 months.
"The staff have suffered years of unrest and uncertainty, despite giving great support and professionalism," said Aylward.
"They've seen their employer change from Littlewoods, to Shop Direct, to Serco and now Webhelp UK, only to be put under the threat of redundancy. These loyal employees have been badly let down and deserve much better than to see their jobs exported.
"Next week we will enter into consultation with the company on their proposal and we will be challenging the employer to find a way to keep the jobs in the UK at Aintree and Bolton.
"We are also calling on local politicians to do what they can to help. In the meantime we will be supporting our members throughout this difficult period as we fight for their jobs."
David Turner, chief executive officer of Webhelp UK, said the planned closures were necessary as consumer habits have been "changing very rapidly" in recent years.
Shop Direct chief executive Alex Baldock, added: "We set Webhelp the challenge of developing a customer service capability that would serve our customers' needs over the next decade.
"They have responded to that challenge by reviewing the estate they inherited from Serco and recommending the proposals that have been outlined to the trade union today.
"Change can be difficult but it is necessary and we are confident that the proposals outlined by Webhelp will ensure we can continue to develop the fantastic digital service our customers are telling us they expect from Shop Direct."
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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About Shop Direct:
Shop Direct Home Shopping Limited is the UK’s online and home shopping retailer, with annual sales of around £1.5 billion and five million customers. We sell all of the major brands, including Sony, Nike, Levi’s, Adidas, Phillips, Kodak, Dyson, Bosch, Amanda Wakeley, Morgan and Miss Sixty.
Webhelp is a Paris-based international customer relationship management group.
Published: Tuesday, September 15, 2015