Business Watch: T-Mobile 500

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If you thought the craze to outsource call centre jobs to cheaper labour in warmer climes was over, think again.

T-Mobile UK is leaping on the bandwagon with plans to move work to the Philippines.

In fact, a flick through the files shows it signed a letter of intent with WNS Philippines to provide customer care for its 17 million-odd UK customers back in September.

But only now is that decision preying on the minds of more than 500 call centre and tech support staff in the UK working for T-Mobile’s current contractor, TSC.

TSC, which provides contact centre services and technology support for the network, has said 300 of its 500 staff in Larbert, near Falkirk, are affected.

The 118 employees at the firm’s call centre are also affected in Greenock along with 100 staff in Yorkshire.

The company, which has started a 90-day consultation period with staff, said in a statement: “One of our clients has decided that certain services we currently perform for them will be moved to an offshore supplier. Sadly, that puts at risk a number of jobs in our Falkirk site, hence the beginning of the consultation period.”

Once again it’s evidence the industry is preparing for tougher times ahead by cutting costs as fast as it can.

T-Mobile said its general customer services would be provided from a contact centre near Manila, to be known as T-Mobile Dela Rosa, by the end of August.

The trickier, more complex bits of its customer support and telesales will continue to be managed in the UK. That sounds pretty sensible.

T-Mobile said it was working closely with TSC to mitigate and minimise the impact.

Such is the strength of feeling in Scotland about the job losses that Enterprise Minister Jim Mather has held talks with managers at the contact centre.

At a time when customer service is increasingly key to retaining customers, T-Mobile’s move will surprise some observers.

Full article in Mobile News issue 437 (April 20, 2009).

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