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Home > Business > PTI > Report

BPO employees urged to form union

December 06, 2007 16:48 IST

Indian workers and companies need to partner with trade unions in the fast growing IT and other services sectors to end a 'democratic deficit' and tackle common issues, a global trade union said.

The Union Network International, which claims a membership of 15 million members worldwide, including 1 million in India, also unveiled a report on India Call Centres/BPO, focussing on the attitudes and experiences of UNITES (the Union of Information Technology Enabled Services Professionals) members in India.

In the report, BPO companies were accused of failing to listen to their staff, of breaching conventions of the International Labour Organisation in order to keep out unions.

It said half of the staff in BPO companies are concerned about pay levels.

"NASSCOM has got it all wrong. They (BPO companies) need unions as much as the staff do, if they are to get effective feedback and tackle common issues like high turnover and training deficits", said Philip Bowyer, deputy general secretary of the Switzerland-based Global Union for Skills and Services, on Thursday.

"All workers in India are entitled to union representation and once companies realise that human resource management is no substitute for independent employee representation, a genuine and constructive dialogue can begin," Bowyer said.

The report on union formation in call and back office processing centres was compiled by Strathclyde Business School, Scotland, and the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.

According to the report, "management was seen as most unsuccessful in listening to employees' ideas about how the service could be improved (73 per cent), in involving employees in target-setting (68 per cent) and in decisions affecting them (65 per cent)."

The report said BPO staff put in 216 hours of work a month on an average, with two-thirds of staff surveyed, said they were 'very' or 'quite pressurised' as a result of work under the pressure of targets.

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