News : Webhelp UK: Call Centre Staff Face Axe in Aintree and Bolton
Liverpool, UK, Sept 10 2015 -- Up to 700 call centre staff are facing redundancy amid plans to close two offices in Merseyside and Greater Manchester.
Webhelp UK, which handles calls to online retailer Shop Direct, is cutting its workforce from 1,162 to 470 due to an expected drop in telephone orders.
Plans include the possible closure of its Bolton office by 2016, and the phased closure of the Aintree office.
A spokesman for the Usdaw union said staff were "shocked and outraged".
Webhelp UK said the action was being taken "due to the reduction in call volumes anticipated over the next decade".
The proposals would see a new "centre of excellence" established in Cardiff, with the remainder of operations being handled in South Africa, the company said.
'Move to digital'
Chief executive officer David Turner said: "Shop Direct is still receiving a huge percentage of customer contact via traditional methods, such as telephone, however, it is clear that customers want to move onto digital channels, and the pace of change is increasing."
He said the company wants customers to be able to choose from "a raft of digital contact options, including Whatsapp, virtual advisors and video messaging, which will see more than 60% of contact becoming digital in three years."
Mike Aylward, a divisional officer for Usdaw, said: "Our members are shocked and outraged by this decision. The staff have suffered years of unrest and uncertainty, despite giving great support and professionalism.
"These loyal employees have been badly let down and deserve much better than to see their jobs exported."
He said the union would be consulting with Webhelp UK next week and challenging the employer to find a way to keep the jobs in Aintree and Bolton.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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About Webhelp UK:
Webhelp is a UK-based international customer relationship management group.
Published: Monday, September 14, 2015