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  Issue No 78 Official Organ of LaborNet 17 November 2000  




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On The Line

Trade unions this week entered a landmark partnership with the call centre industry to improve the quality jobs in this growing sector.

The directions are laid out in a Discussion paper 'On the Line - The future of Australia's Call Centre Industry'. This is the Executive Summary of that report:

The expanding call centre industry is in a unique position to provide quality employment opportunities for Australians in the technology and customer service sectors.

To sustain such growth, Australian call centres must be able to provide a well-trained and professional workforce, backed up by appropriate technology and commitment to world customer service standards.

Call centres and state governments must commit to providing quality employment opportunities for Australians and a high standard of customer service.

Call centres have injected optimism and opportunity into communities with high levels of unemployment. It is imperative that the skills of staff in call centres are developed in order for these opportunities to remain in the long term.

Setting the Standard

Australian governments spend substantial amounts of money attracting companies to establish call centres in their areas, particularly in regional centres with high unemployment. But there are currently little or no requirements imposed on companies that receive such investment incentives.

The ACTU Call Centre Unions Group believes the investment made by Australian taxpayers should be returned to the community by way of:

  • Quality customer service
  • Long-term skilled employment opportunities
  • Appropriate employment standards
  • Ongoing training and skills development for employees.

The call centre industry is largely unregulated and wages for call centre employees are lower than those in most countries that offer similar standards of infrastructure, political stability and a multi-lingual workforce. The ACTU Call Centre Unions Group believes the lack of regulation has lead to the development of significant discrepancies in wages and conditions in Australia,

Developing Our Advantage

The ACTU Call Centre Unions Group believes that the competitive advantage of Australian call centres should be the skill of their staff and professionalism of their operations.

Benefits to call centre employees:

  • Job satisfaction from providing good service
  • Training and career development
  • A meaningful career path
  • Long-term, well-paid, skilled employment opportunities.

Benefits to the call centre industry:

  • Gaining a reputation as a provider of reliable and quality service
  • Access to a pool of well-trained and professional employees
  • Retention of experienced employees due to reduced staff turnover
  • Quality customer service.

A Plan for Action

The ACTU Call Centre Unions Group believes the key to achieving these goals are:

  • Increased training and development
  • Commitment to support staff to provide quality customer service
  • A reduction in the current rate of staff turnover
  • The development of appropriate minimum wages and conditions regulation in the industry
  • Increased participation of staff in key decisions regarding improvements to the provision of customer service.

A Charter for the Future

The ACTU Call Centre Unions Group is seeking commitments to a call centre charter which will contain statements of commitment by call centres to:

  • Training and development of staff, in particular in e-commerce applications when appropriate
  • Genuine pursuit of excellence in customer service
  • Appropriate minimum employment standards
  • Adequate support of staff in the provision of quality customer service.

The ACTU Call Centre Unions Group is seeking Government support for the Call Centre Charter. Governments will be asked to:

  • Encourage new call centres to commit to the Call Centre Charter
  • Give priority to call centres that have signed the charter when awarding Government business
  • Commit government call centres to the Call Centre Charter.

For a full copy of the report 'On the Line' contact Belinda at the ACTU (03) 92066072 or by email [email protected]


*   Check out the Call Central site

*   View entire issue - print all of the articles!

*   Issue 78 contents

In this issue
*  Interview: Doubly Blessed
With that unforgettable name, Grace Grace is making her mark as the first female secretary of the Queensland trade union movement.
*  Unions: On The Line
Trade unions this week entered a landmark partnership with the call centre industry to improve the quality jobs in this growing sector.
*  History: Conspiracy or Class? The Whitlam Sacking
Never trust a man who wears a top hat and tails in Australia, in Summer. Neale Towart considers this and other evidence of conspiracy in the great shonky dismissal.
*  Legal: Return Of The Lock-out
Marian Baird reports on the increasing tendency of aggressive employers to use lock-outs to reduce wages and conditions and promote individual agreements.
*  Activists: Waterfront Hero Bows Out
John Coombs, the man the government compared to Ned Kelly - villain to the bosses, the big land owners and conservatives, folk hero to working Australians - bows out of the union movement next month.
*  International: Morocco Stonewalls In Western Sahara
Morocco has new king but its old game plan of defying world opinion over its occupation of the Western Sahara continues.
*  Review: The Identity-Shifting Pragmatist
If New Zealand should have an Australian as its first Labour Prime Minister, then it is only fitting that Australia should have as its first a man who spent much of his formative years across the ditch.
*  Satire: Hackers Infect Microsoft Computers With Mysterious Windows Virus
SEATTLE, Thursday: Shame-faced workers at Microsoft admitted today that hackers had succeeded in penetrating their network's defences and had installed a sophisticated virus on the Apple Macintosh machines used across the software giant's operations.

»  STOP PRESS: Global First - ILO Sanctions Against Burma
»  Big Bosses Bloat While Working Poor Grows
»  Union Puts Heat on Bastard Bank
»  Reith Fiddles As Workers Diddled In Shelf Company Scam
»  Call Centre Group Sets New Standard
»  Bag The Building Union Back In Vogue
»  Reith Uses the Back Door
»  Big Australian Blamed As Ships of Shame Toll Rises
»  Public Education Bus Donated to East Timor
»  Vic Opposition Blocks Fair IR Laws
»  More Reasons to Abolish the Employment Advocate
»  Coca-Cola Hit by Racism Claims
»  Souths or Bust!
»  Fundraisers for Burma, Timor, EMILY's List

»  The Soapbox
»  Sport
»  Trades Hall
»  Tool Shed

Letters to the editor
»  Heaps of US Presidential Feedback
»  George W's Words of Wisdom
»  Cancer of the Soul
»  Explaining to to the Gott - Slowly
»  Desperately Seeking George Scurry

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