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US call centre bill aims to stop jobs coming to India

Last updated on: December 20, 2011 16:39 IST

US call centre bill aims to stop jobs coming to India

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Seema Hakhu Kachru in Houston

A bipartisan Bill has been tabled in the US House of Representatives to make companies that move call centres overseas ineligible for grants or guaranteed loans from the American government, a move aimed at stemming the tide of jobs heading to nations like India.

Introduced by Rep Tim Bishop and Rep David McKinley, the US Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act would also put some aggressive mandates on call centre operations.

"Outsourcing is one of the scourges of our economy and why we are struggling so to knock down the unemployment rate," said Bishop.

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Photographs: Reuters

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Under the protectionist legislation, not only would customer service representatives working overseas for United States corporations have to disclose their locations upon request, they would also have to offer callers the option of being transferred to call centres back in America, the Huffington Post reported.

Besides, the proposed legislation requires the secretary of labour to maintain a list of employers that locate call centres overseas.

The companies also require to provide 120-day advance notification before moving a call centre overseas.

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Photographs: Reuters

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The call centre Bill has strong backing from the Communications Workers of America, a union which represents 150,000 call centre workers in the US.

In a report, issued recently by the CWA, the union alleged that outsourced call centres, including some based in India, pose a serious security threat as there are insufficient safeguards in place to deter fraud.

The report titled, Why Shipping Call Center Jobs Overseas Hurts Us Back Home, cited several examples of security breaches involving outsourced call centres, including in India.

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Photographs: Reuters

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Owing to the insufficient protections in place, it is impossible to deter this type of fraud, the report said.

Some call centre operators, particularly those in rural areas, are trying hard to compete with overseas call centres -- and some rural call centre operators say they are seeing a trend toward companies moving call centres back to the US.

The ability of home-based workers to use a broadband connection to conduct call centre duties has helped fuel that trend.

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Photographs: Reuters
Tags: US , India

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'Reverse' call centre outsourcing -- driven by broadband -- could create 100,000 US jobs.

If passed, the proposed call centre legislation would likely further fuel a move of call centre jobs back to the US.


Photographs: Reuters
Tags: US , India

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