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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 4 March, 2003, 12:54 GMT
Salary cut saves call centre jobs
Call centre worker
More than 700 call centre workers were balloted
Hundreds of call centre workers across north-east England have voted to take a pay cut in order to save jobs.

About 700 Npower call centre workers in Thornaby and across Tyneside face cuts in their salary of up to 25% - although the average will be 12%.

The workers were balloted over the past two weeks and voted two-to-one in favour of a wage reduction.

Dave Harrison, from the union Amicus, said they had been expecting the cuts since last year after the company warned staff it could run cheaper operations elsewhere in the country.

'Long process'

He said: "We were told last August by the company that the cost of the call centre was somewhere in the region of 25% above market rates.

"They needed to reduce the terms and conditions, not just the salaries, with regards to that fact.

"The other option was that they would close the call centres in Gateshead, Thornaby and Newcastle and open up elsewhere in the country."

Mr Harrison added it had been a long process but the salary cuts meant jobs would be saved.

"It was two hard choices really - one was lose your job, the other was have a reduction in your wages.

"The result of two -to-one was surprising in sense it was so big.

"At least it has kept jobs in the North East."

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