Staff at call centre ‘at breaking point over new terms’


A number of employees from the call centre have contacted the Herald about wages and working conditions.

FORMER Quinn Direct workers at Teleperformance in Enniskillen have said they are “totally demoralised” and feel they are being “pushed around” by their new employers.
Long-term workers at the Carran Business Park contact centre, which is the northern base for Liberty Insurance and was the subject of much publicity this time two years ago when it was announced Teleperformance were to create 800 new jobs at the centre, are currently undergoing changes to their contracts.
One worker, who wished to remain anonymous but has been with the firm since the days of Quinn Direct, said the proposed changes, which will be rolled out across the Teleperformance company as a whole, could include removing their paid breaks and reducing their hours each week.
“To compensate for the reduction in hours, they are proposing to increase our hourly rate,” they explained. “On paper that looks absolutely fine. Our annual salary remains unchanged, you’re not losing out on anything.
“The catch here is, we believe it’s a way to combat paying us the minimum wage. Say, for example, if an employee was currently on £7.50 an hour at the moment, which would be the minimum wage level, come next year when the minimum wage goes up to £8, they’ve already combated having to pay an extra amount in your hourly rate.”
The worker said the changes had now been officially implemented, and while they had not had a major impact yet, staff were still concerned.
The employee added the changes would only affect some, but not all, workers at the company.
“The ex-Quinn Direct staff feel it’s just another excuse to push us about,” they said. “The staff are at breaking point.  We just feel completely undervalued and totally demoralised.”
“We have all now been listed as part-time on our system. Since it was implemented work are trying to play it down in that it is just a technical issue and won’t have any impact on us but it is still worrying,” they said.
They explained there were a number of other aspects of the working environment at the company that were concerning. For example, they felt new workers were not being given enough training.
“They’re getting two weeks training and put on the phones,” the worker said. “We’re governed by the Central Bank, and have to report into them, I would really question those regulations are actually being met through the lack of training that is provided.”
In addition, customer service employees are also stressed due to strict time limits being place on every call they make.
“I love customer service, I love working with the customer and trying to solve the problem,” said the worker. “I just feel I haven’t the time to actually do that because we’re more conscious of hitting our figures and our targets.”
They concluded: “We do feel we need some sort of intervention from somebody to take our corner.”
The Herald has contacted both Teleperformance and Liberty Insurance regarding this issue, but has yet to receive a response.

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