CWU given 90 minutes notice of bombshell announcement

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The CWU has condemned the announcement by Adecco that its call centre on Liverpool’s Albert Dock is to close by the end of April next year, with the loss of more than 320 jobs.

The bombshell was broken to staff at 2pm today – with the CWU only learning of the decision an hour and a half beforehand during a pre-scheduled meeting to discuss the union’s claim for the first pay rise at the site since 2006.

The looming closure of the site stems from Virgin Media’s decision to review its call centre operation. Staff at the Adecco call centre have been exclusively carrying out work for Virgin Media (VM), and were, indeed, directly employed by VM prior to the company’s decision to outsource the work to Adecco in 2006.

CWU deputy general secretary Andy Kerr said: “The closure announcement has come as a complete bombshell, not just to the CWU but more particularly to the loyal members of staff at the Albert Dock site.

“Many of those who are now facing redundancy had worked for many years for VM prior to being transferred out to work for Adecco. They now find that VM is kicking them in the teeth by closing the centre after all their loyal service.”

While staff have been offered redeployment (by way of TUPE transfer) to Swansea, the CWU believes that this will be unrealistic for the vast majority of those involved. Some vacancies may be available at VM’s Wythenshawe site in Manchester – but it appears that Adecco staff are only being offered the right to apply, but without any special guarantees.

CWU national organising secretary John East, who was in Liverpool for pay talks with Adecco when the closure bombshell was dropped, said: “The timing was extraordinary. We were in the middle of pay talks to try to address the fact that these people haven’t had a pay rise since 2006 – only for our hard-working members to be confronted by this shocking news.  It simply beggars belief.

“The CWU will be doing everything it can to support members and fight for their interests at this difficult and uncertain time.”


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