UNI Europa and Belgian unions show call centre workers’ uphill struggle

Monday 19 October 2015

It has become a tradition that every October actions are organised to support and defend the rights of the contact centre workers all over the world.

Belgian trade unions LBC-NVK and Setca-bbtk met at the IPG offices in Brussels last Friday to launch the upcoming Contact Centre Week of Action and a range of activities defending and organising precarious call centre workers.

Jan Meeuwens, Adjunct Secretaris (responsible for Brussels contact centres in Setca-bbtk) said: ‘We have chosen to focus our action in Belgium on IPG, with this call centre being the largest in Belgium. IPG is a major player in the call centre world and is increasingly buying up smaller call centres and therefore bringing ever more workers under precarious contracts and working conditions. This is a dangerous evolution and why we are in front of this building protesting today.’

John-Pierre Boninsegna, Secrétaire federal with national responsibility for call centres in Setca-bbtk, added: ‘We have been active in IPG for around 10 years and it is a constant battle to not just improve working conditions, but protect those that already exist given the move towards flexible and precarious working conditions and contracts. IPG are a big player and they are setting the rules. Therefore, for unions and their representatives (reps) in call centres, the challenge is to change these rules on our terms to allow call centre workers to access decent work.’

Trade union activists brought with them a big climbing wall that was set up directly in front of IPG.

Robert Veekman from LBC-NVK said: ‘This climbing wall symbolises the uphill struggle that call centre workers face without having long term stable contracts. We need fair working conditions for these employees, including fixed and long term contracts, collective bargaining and agreements.’

UNI Europa’s Regional Secretary Oliver Roethig delivered a speech at the action event calling fair contracts for all call centre workers and for employers to put a stop to precarious work.

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