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Monday, 19 August, 2002, 13:22 GMT 14:22 UK
Strike threat over Indian call centres
Call centre
Call centre staff at Reality are worried about their jobs
About 6,000 staff at a mail order firm could go on strike after bosses set up a new call centre in India.

Workers at Reality fear they will lose their jobs if the firm decides to expand its operations in the sub-continent.

They have demanded bosses sign a job security agreement.

But the firm - which runs call centres and distribution depots across the North West and in Leeds - has insisted its UK jobs are safe.


Our members are very angry

Val Pugh, Usdaw national officer

It costs less for firms to process calls in India than it does in the UK.

Shopworkers union Usdaw said its members had discovered calls were being diverted to Asia and were angry they were not told first.

National officer Val Pugh said: "Until we get a job security agreement our members won't believe the company when they say the use of Indian call centres will not be at the expense of their jobs.

"The union has held mass meetings across the North West over the last few days and the company should not underestimate the strength of feeling over this issue. Our members are very angry."

Call centre worker
Reality has seven call centres in the UK

A spokesman for Reality - which is owned by Great Universal Stores - insisted it had no plans to close any UK call centres.

He added: "Reality is committed to recruiting at all seven of its UK contact centres and will continue discussions with Usdaw on this issue."

The result of the ballot will be announced next month.

Staff in Burnley, Preston, Oldham, Manchester, Leeds, Bolton, Eccles, Widnes, Wigan, Leeds and Newton, mid-Wales, could be affected.

See also:

31 Jul 02 | England
09 Jun 02 | Scotland
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