Union threatens strike over O2 call centre outsourcing rumours


CWU issues warning at its annual conference in response to speculation that up to 1,000 jobs may go

The Communications Workers Union (CWU) has threatened O2 with strike action if rumoured plans to outsource its UK call centres are given the green light.

The warning was issued during the CWU’s annual conference in Bournemouth last month, following speculation in the press.

One national newspaper said up to 1,000 jobs could go if O2 opts to outsource more of its call centres to London-based outsourcing firm Capita.

O2 dismissed the story as speculation and said it has “nothing to announce” as regards any potential changes.

A spokesperson for the union told Mobile News the organisation would strongly oppose any further outsourcing of O2’s call centre services and would ballot its members over industrial action if necessary.

In 2012, Capita, which already manages several of O2’s pay monthly customer service lines, transferred 200 O2 jobs to South Africa from its call centre in Dearne Valley, Yorkshire, making staff at the site redundant.

The CWU, however, is putting measures in place regardless.

At the conference, members voted unanimously in favour of its emergency motion, which decided the union’s position on the matter.

The motion read: “While the CWU understands that this is a company that is transforming itself for the future, to take advantage of new technologies and in order to provide new services, any transformation plans need to take into consideration the CWU members that are affected and they need to be at the very heart of any decisions made.

“The CWU therefore instructs the Telecom and Financial Services Executive to oppose any move by O2 to outsource the majority of call centre work as it is not in the interests of the members we represent. To oppose by all means possible up to, and including, industrial action.”

CWU assistant secretary Sally Bridge added: “We are seeking an urgent meeting with the company in light of media reports. We can reassure members that as far as the CWU is concerned, we will strongly defend any attack to directly employed jobs in O2.”