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  Issue No 78 Official Organ of LaborNet 17 November 2000  




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Call Centre Group Sets New Standard

The ACTU Call Centre Unions Group has launched a campaign to lift employment and customer service standards in the call centre industry.

Call centre management representatives launched the Call central project, a joint initiative between the ACTU and six key call centre unions, at the MembersEquity call centre in central Melbourne on Monday November 13.

Initiatives include:

  • a Call central website
  • an industry discussion paper On the Line
  • a Minimum Standards Code
  • a Call Centre Charter.

The Call Centre Charter contains a set of broad commitments made by employers to staff, and the Minimum Standards Code sets out guidelines for workplace conditions and salary levels.

At the launch, MembersEquity CEO Anthony Wamsteker and Service Partners Human Resources Manager Peter Price, signed the charter.

ACTU President Sharan Burrow called on all call centre employees to campaign to implement the Minimum Standards Code in their workplaces.

"The code of conduct is about making the call centres that do the right thing by their staff, customers and the industry more visible. By identifying 'lighthouse' call centres we hope to encourage the rogues in the industry to lift their game," she said.

"The Australian call centre industry can be a critical export industry for Australia if we are about quality, we need to work with the employers to ensure it has a quality and standards base to ensure good export opportunities."

Other speakers at the launch included Natalie Raso, President of the Call Centre Management Association, who welcomed the ACTU initiative. Ms Raso said that projects such as Call central should be supported by all stakeholders to promote the growth of a professional and dynamic industry.

"The Australian call centre industry needs to invest in people if we are to really succeed in the high quality delivery of customer sales and customer service. That also means that the work conditions of call centre staff are healthy and positive environments.

"CCMA supports Call Central because the impact of this initiative will have wide-ranging effects for Australia and globally to attract business from overseas to support the growth of our call centre industry," Ms Raso said.

MembersEquity Manager Angela Webb said she was delighted the call centre was signing the charter. Ms Webb said MembersEquity relied on the energy, enthusiasm and knowledge of its call centre consultants to give high-quality service to customers.

"The call centre industry is about people and it's about quality. The staff are not just people who come to the centre for a job, they come to the centre to build a career. MembersEquity relies on these frontline people to build our businesses because they are the first point of contact with potential customers."

Other speakers included staff representatives of some call centres. Marg Shirley of Ballarat praised the efforts of the ACTU and employers supporting Call Central.

"Regional Australia is crying out for call centres,' she said. "We can work in the country through the computer and telephone network structures and the flow-on effects to the rest of the community can basically rebuild regional and rural Australia.

"However, currently you can have a call centre on one side of the road and one on the other side of the road and they can have totally different conditions - like pay, conditions of employment and breaks. The Minimum Standards Code will provide a level playing field for working people."

Wayne Wright told of one call centre that risked the safety of its staff by choosing to evacuate the whole building during a fire except the telephone operators.

"The manager said the businesses needed to be looked after. This is not good enough - and an initiative like this will help stamp out bad practices."

Mr Wright emphasised the importance of the Call Central website as a valuable resource for employees when negotiating with their employers.

The new website was showcased at the launch. The site provides comprehensive information about the industry, up-to-date industry news and facilitates networking of call centre employees.


*   See also Call Central

*   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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