Unlike BT, many call centre companies do not recognise trades unions, although the Government's legislation to allow limited rights has given unions a new incentive to recruit in call centres. Several complaints among staff who operate BT's bills and repairs lines are common to conditions in call centres generally, although they have a particular grievance over BT's employment of agency workers with poorer pay, pension and redundancy rights.
They allege they are subject to bullying management and suffer stress due to rules, such as a time limit of 285 seconds for dealing with calls. Consistent breaches of time limits can lead to disciplinary action and, ultimately, dismissal.
BT acknowledges the staff concerned are under pressure from a large volume of calls and says it is recruiting more employees to deal with the problem. However, techniques such as call time limits are common throughout call centres, which are widely used in service industries.
The MSF union, which represents skilled and professional people, claimed at a conference in June that staff in call centres were commonly subject to intrusive forms of monitoring. Examples cited were monitoring of all telephone calls, and checks on computer use by counting use of passwords and screen save commands to measure inactivity, plus use of swipe cards to log time-keeping and breaks.Reuse content