Letter: Workers on call

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Is Peter Stanford who wrote your report the same Peter Stanford who spent the day in BT's call centre in Newcastle?

Certainly, the Peter whom we saw confessed to a feeling of overall unease about what he saw as the grubby business of trade and commerce but then was honest enough to say how difficult he found it to reconcile that preconception with the bright, bubbly, enthusiastic and, yes, disciplined people he came across at every level throughout the centre.

No doubt it is easier to recycle individual tales of woe from pseudonymous former telesales workers and previously published material but it stands reality on its head to suggest that our team at Newcastle is "working in a dehumanised environment for low pay". For the record, advisers' average pay is around pounds 9 per hour, with correspondingly increased rates for team and section leaders. Human factors are taken into account from the planning and design stages onwards. That includes the basics, from the eye-friendly lighting, comfortable chairs and plenty of space to the imaginative little things such as the non-spill BT cup which Peter gently mocks.

Peter, you said you were almost won over to a career in telemarketing. Perhaps another visit would take you that extra step. Certainly here you'd be working with a tremendous bunch of people in an exciting and growing industry.



BT Newcastle Call Centre

Newcastle upon Tyne