Virgin call centre closure angers CWU

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Virgin confirms it will close its Trowbridge call centres by December 2012 resulting in 450 jobs moving to Manchester. The CWU says the decision is a “disaster”

Virgin Media has been accused by the Communication Workers Union (CWU) of causing a “disaster” for Trowbridge, Wiltshire after announcing plans to shut a predominately Virgin Mobile call centre there.

The closure will see around 450 jobs leave the area for Virgin’s call centre at Wythenshawe, Greater Manchester although the CWU puts this number at 500.

Virgin however hit back at the claims and said the move away from the site, which it expects to close completely in December 2012, was part of Virgin Mobile’s integration into Virgin Media.

The CWU said the planned shut down was all the more harsh due to the fact Vodafone announced last month it would also slash 200 staff at the same Trowbridge site.

CWU deputy general secretary Andy Kerr said: “ Coming on the back of the Vodafone decision to pull out of Trowbridge, the local economy will be hit hard by this redundancy double whammy.

Kerr called on Virgin to make redeployment and relocation packages a “realistic option” for staff who may be interest and not a “token tick box exercise”.

“The sad fact is that there will not be an option to stay in Trowbridge and work for Virgin Media as other sites are not within commuting distance and relocation remains an unrealistic option for the majority of staff,” Kerr said.

Virgin said it would be entering into a 90 day consultation process with staff at the site during which it would be working closely with staff.

The spokesperson said Virgin prides itself on the assistance it gives employees during “such situations” adding that financial relocation and transporting assistance would be provided to staff wishing to move to the Wythenshawe site.

There would also be options to move to positions at other sites such as those in nearby Cardiff, Newport and Bristol.

“We know this may be a difficult message for our staff so we are committed to communicating as early and openly as possible with all affected employees,” the spokesperson said.

“With a long lead-time for changes, we will be working closely with all teams throughout the upcoming consultation period to help our staff best manage any decisions about their futures.”

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