Telefónica outsourcing must stop

Telecoms & Financial Services

Talks are to be sought with Telefónica in a bid to reverse the mobile giant’s rampant outsourcing strategy amid concerns that transferring employees are paying the price of company cost-cutting with their Ts&Cs and even their livelihoods being put at risk.

Following on from the union’s unsuccessful attempt in February to secure assurances from Telefónica CEO Mark Evans that staff TUPE’d to Capita in 2013 would be brought back in-house in the event of the troubled outsourcer’s demise, CWU Annual Conference backed an Executive motion committing the union to strive to keep all remaining Telefonica work in-house.

Proposing the motion, CWU assistant secretary Sally Bridge told Conference: “Back in 2013 the CWU vociferously objected to the outsourcing of the thousands of jobs in the Voice Channel and escalated the issue to the then CEO, Ronan Dunne, expressing our dismay.

“We stated then that we did not believe that outsourcing to a third party supplier was in the best interest of the customer or Telefónica as a business – and in February we once again raised the question as to why Telefónica would want to continue to risk using Capita to handle a major piece of its customer-facing work.”

Pointing out the track record of the company’s outsourcings resulting in the gradual erosion of transferees’ terms and conditions, Sally cited the case of a member who’d been on long-term sick leave subsequent to his TUPE to another company in 2012 being effectively dismissed on grounds of ill health after 20 years of service.

“If Telefónica hadn’t outsourced that work he’d have been protected by the company’s ill health retirement policy with a lump sum and pension – but his recipient company – Connect 44 – didn’t have any such provision.

“This is an example of where our members are put at risk and end up paying the price for cost-cutting outsourcing strategies.”

Angie Prangell of South Wales branch agreed: “Thousands of our members’ jobs have been outsourced and it’s nearly always to their detriment. Telefónica is always stating that its people are the most important part of the business – yet they continue to outsource to suppliers that are issuing profit warnings with complete disregard for our members. We must do everything possible to reverse Telefónica’s policy of outsourcing.”

Conference unanimously agreed.

  • Delegates also committed the union to launch a countrywide recruitment campaign in O2 stores – ideally securing permission from the business to attend induction classes where access has traditionally been denied.

“We’re invited into the call centres’ induction classes, so why not Retail?” asked Angie Prangell of South Wales branch.