'Shop bad bosses,' call centre staff told

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The Independent Online

Conditions for call centre workers are improving but workers still earn £9,000 less than the average wage and suffer health problems and poor working conditions, according to a new report.

Conditions for call centre workers are improving but workers still earn £9,000 less than the average wage and suffer health problems and poor working conditions, according to a new report.

TUC research shows many call centres do not deserve the "sweatshop" image associated with them, but some centres were accused of exploiting staff and not responding to health concerns.

Some of the 400,000 workers in the sector complained of "acoustic shock" which left them suffering from depression and other health problems.

The TUC is running a special telephone hotline for two weeks from today for call centre workers to report any "bad bosses" or poor working practises.

The TUC found some workers were monitored over the length of time they spent going to the toilet.

Others had to pay for their own headsets or had wages withheld while they served probationary periods.

But the report also highlighted employers offering flexible working patterns, free childcare facilities and other attractive practices.

"The good call centres we highlight prove the industry can offer good working conditions and still be profitable," said TUC general secretary John Monks.

"But there are still too many call centres exploiting staff."

The TUC urged call centre employers to set sensible targets for staff and to offer flexible working arrangements.

? The TUC hotline number is 0800 032 0033.

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