|Issue No 12||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.
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History: From Steam Trains to Information Superhighways
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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
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Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005