O2 staff to vote on strike

The UK’s Communications Workers Union (CWU) is holding a strike ballot for members working at O2’s call centres in England, over plans to outsource jobs to managed services firm Capita.

The operator has announced its plans to outsource around 3,500 jobs in customer service call centres in Bury, Glasgow, Leeds and Preston Brook to Capita.

The firm gave “some assurances over job security given to staff and CWU”, the union said, but rumours have surfaced of site closures and off-shoring work to South Africa and India. The result of the ballot is due on June 18, 2013.

“This ballot is about protecting decent UK jobs. We’ve been forced to hold a ballot because of the unusually short consultation period and lack of progress on assurances over job security, terms and conditions, and the future of sites,” said Andy Kerr, CWU deputy general secretary.

“We wanted to have a negotiated way forward but our hands have been tied. We’re already two weeks into the 41 day consultation period and we’ve made no progress at all on key issues.

“Trust is at rock-bottom, made worse by media speculation around site closures and offshoring work. Our members don’t know who to trust and we feel like we’ve been lied to by O2 and Capita. We’ve been left no option by the company but to hold this ballot and they know this.”

An O2 spokesperson told the firm is “disappointed” and “committed to meeting the CWU as frequently as necessary to discuss their concerns with the aim of reaching agreement and avoiding the ballot and any subsequent industrial action.”

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