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UK rail inquiries jobs in danger
Agencies | December 04, 2003 17:24 IST
The Cardiff-based Serco call centre is the first casualty of the National Rail Enquiries's decision to move rail enquiry call handling to India, says icWales, the Welsh national Web site.
"The Welsh call centre industry suffered another body blow yesterday with the news that the Cardiff-based Serco call centre has lost its National Rail Enquiries contract," said icWales.
"The firm's contract with the Association of Train Operating Companies (Atoc) expires in the new year, and Serco has been told that it will not be renewed," said icWales.
This imperils the jobs of the 420 staff who have worked on the National Rail Enquiries contract for the past seven years at Serco.
Peter Scoggins, National Rail Enquiries chief executive, is a known supporter of outsourcing call handling to India and there are now concerns that this could be the latest instance of Welsh jobs being lost to India, said icWales.
A spokesman for Atoc, said icWales, confirmed that Serco had not made it to the final stage of the bidding process for the new contract. "Serco did very well but there were other bidders considered by the evaluation team to be better," he said.
"They got very close but it may be that other bidders met our criteria of quality, value for money and reliability to a higher degree," icWales quoted the spokesman as saying.
Serco Integrated Transport Division spokesman Brian Bennett said the company was bitterly disappointed. He said he believed there was no way Serco in Cardiff could have lost the contract on the basis of quality of service, with the centre frequently being found the best of it kind, reported icWales.
The news comes as many British companies are outsourcing their call centres to Asia, because salary costs are considerably cheaper overseas, said icWales.
A study by research and analysis provider Contact-Babel released on Wednesday showed that the average salary for a new Indian call centre worker is �125 a month, less than 12 per cent of the equivalent salary in the UK.
The study found that Indian call centre staff answered calls more quickly and worked six hours a week longer than their UK counterparts. But British staff dealt with 25 per cent more calls every hour and were able to resolve 17 per cent of calls first time, said icWales.
Aviva move sparks off protests
British insurance major Aviva's declaration to move 2,500 jobs to India has been met with vociferous protests in the United Kingdom, with workers unions keen on getting the firm to take back its decision, says icWales, the Welsh national Web site.
Workers leaders are set to will meet senior managers at insurance giant Aviva to voice their strong opposition against plans to cut 2,350 jobs in the UK and switch work to India, said icWales.
"Amicus has already pledged to fight the shock decision, which it warned could lead to 500 redundancies across the UK. Formal consultation over the jobs was getting under way at talks in Norwich between regional and local officials of Amicus and managers from Aviva, which trades as Norwich Union," said icWales.