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  Issue No 12 Official Organ of LaborNet 07 May 1999  





Push for Decent Call Centres

NSW unions will ask the Carr Government to introduce minimum standards for all call centres as it pushes to create 60,000 new jobs in the industry by 2003.


The Labor Council will ask the Premier to set up a committee of employers, trade unions and employers to agree on baseline conditions and employment practices, amidst concerns that some centres are becoming the "sweat shops of the 90s".

Australian Services Union (services branch) secretary Alison Peters says that while the union supports the government's commitment to job creation, they want to ensure the jobs created are decent ones.

The Australian Services Union covers some call centres, along with the Finance Sector Union and the Community and Public Sector Union.

"When you get reports of excessive monitoring, like timing toilet breaks, you start to worry about the types of jobs we are creating," Peters says.

"Our union has received a range of complaints from workers including: electronic monitoring of staff, high levels of stress, low morale, excessive turnover of staff and occupational health and safety concerns.

"A lot of the decent employers in the industry don't want to become sweatshops and we need to ensure these people are not undercut by the cowboys."

Because not all call centres are covered by awards, there are currently no industry-wide minimum standards. One of the task of any tripartite committee would be to develop a code of practise.

Labor Council secretary Michael Costa said it was great to see NSW being made the call centre capital of Australia, but it was incumbent on a Labor government to ensure decent conditions applied.


*   View entire issue - print all of the articles!

*   Issue 12 contents

In this issue
*  Interview: The Call of the Wild
We meet a union organiser whoís taking the union message into the call centres.
*  Unions: After the Gold Rush
Call centres are the boom industry and governments everywhere are touting them as major job creators - particularly in regional areas.
*  History: From Steam Trains to Information Superhighways
A new project is dedicated to promoting the heritage of the Eveleigh railway workshops.
*  Work/Time/Life: This Working Life: Issue #1
The debut issue of the ACTU's new monthly bulletin for it's Working Time and Employment Security Campaign.
*  International: British Unions Halt Membership Decline
Union membership has stopped falling in the UK for the first time in 18 years, suggesting that unionsí increased committment to recruitment and organising is starting to pay off.
*  Review: Cold Warriors' Secrets Exposed
NSW Attorney General Jeff Shaw looks at two books that lift the lid on Cold War espionage.

»  Push for Decent Call Centres
»  Shaw Unveils Second Wave
»  Union Raises the Roof for Beryl
»  Cotter Withdraws Currawong Standover Claims
»  Reith Second Wave Will Prolong Industrial Disputes
»  Itís Rio Telstra -- Union Braces for Attack
»  Fears of AWA Push in State Rail
»  Age Tele-Centre Seeks Pay Equity
»  Advocate Ads to be Referred to Auditor-General, ACCC
»  Labor Council to Stage Pre-Drug Summit

»  Guest Report
»  Sport
»  Trades Hall
»  Piers Watch

Letters to the editor
»  Wran Wrong on Wrepublic
»  Digging the Dirt-Digging

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