Call Centres: Anne’s Own Sweat Shops

Have you ever talked to anyone who’s worked in a call centre? They universally describe their call centre jobs a ones with low pay, high stress, and few prospects. And the latest news about call centre layoffs in Bloomfield, and Montague demonstrates just how secure these jobs are.

Industry types call call centre work “intense.” Take a quote from this story for example:

“Call centres have a high turnover rate, due to the intense nature of the work. The search for employment and rewarding work keeps many working in call centres always looking for new opportunities,” says site administrator Luc Theriault.

And PEI’s wage rate is euphemistically called “competitive,” as in this snip from this HRDC publication:

The provincial government continues to support the development of the call centre industry in P.E.I. This, coupled with a wage rate in P.E.I. which is very competitive, could attract new business and provide a favourable economic climate for existing companies to expand.

And yet call centre jobs are promoted as “IT jobs” and the naive public is led to believe that answering the phone for Reader’s Digest is somehow akin to writing code to guide the Space Shuttle home to earth.

And our tax dollars are given away — $292,000 to Souris, $70,000 in Charlottetown, $1 million in Charlottetown, $490,000 in Wellington, for example — to lure new call centres to the Island.

While some might say that it’s elitist to look askance at any new jobs on Prince Edward Island, surely to continue to invest in these transitory jobs is foolish: let’s invest in high-value, sustainable IT jobs rather than throwing our money away to build more digital sweat shops.

Comments

Rusty's picture
Rusty on January 28, 2004 - 16:29

Well said! PEI has to unlearn the colonial mindset that some big company from “away” is going land here and give us all nice jobs. And, similar to what you said in an earlier post about the PEI budgetary deficit, the pipedream that someone else (i.e. the Federal Government) is going to inject zillions of dollars to get rid of the provincial debt must be shattered. As Peter Gabriel said: DIY!

Wayne's picture
Wayne on January 28, 2004 - 16:43

When tax dollars are concerned, there needs to be a social conscience, and call center sweatshops hiding under the banner of I.T. work, while utilizing taxpayer dollars used to entice the large corporations (to the delight of shareholders)is just wrong. Unfortunately, short term solutions to the unemployment issues do, quite often result in votes. Rarely, faced with the decision to do the right thing, or what will get them re-elected, will a politician chose to do the right thing. If you find one, be sure to vote for him/her.

Ken's picture
Ken on January 28, 2004 - 17:29

<h1>RIGHT ON!</h1>
Peter, well done, once again you have articulated clearly anonther big misconception here — and with facts to boot!

Let’s start a campaign to end this snow job we’ve been sold by politicos — IT JOBS MY ASS! They may have fooled my mother, but anyone who has worked there can taste the bullshit put forward everytime another sweet deal is signed that gives another call centre another tax giveaway.

IT sells well politically, and that has got to change, IT is some idealized utopia, whenever you hear IT — run!

Will Pate's picture
Will Pate on January 28, 2004 - 18:38

Call center jobs are the McJobs of IT, in every sense of the word.

Alan's picture
Alan on January 28, 2004 - 18:58

Bravo, Peter!

Will — you are right but not even far enough. They are just McJobs because the same cubicle jockey may answer a software inquiry line or a travel one or a banking one. They are as much related to IT as they are accounting.

Ann's picture
Ann on January 28, 2004 - 19:26

I am not going to offer an opinion on call centres but I am curious to know how you would get the work that they do done. Presumably that work has a value to customers and to businesses so it should be continued in some fashion.

So my question is, if doing it in a call centre is a Bad Way — what is a Good Way?

Alan's picture
Alan on January 28, 2004 - 20:01

But it is not “a value to the business and customer” if it is so radically subsidized. And it appears that in the latest news the work is not even wanted by the work force. It should be done where a price can be fixed which meetings the customer and the business exectations without government involvement.

Do I have these figures right for Bloomfield? $1.5 million Federal and Provicial for 20 jobs is $75,000 per job. To be fair, subsidization at that level was based on full hiring of 50 workers so go with $30,000. Why not just give 50 random people the thirty grand? There is no way the wages for a year for one of these positions would be 30G. How long were they to be subsidized? They are two years in now. When was this firm going to make a buck themselves? All makes you wonder about the research as opposed to the rhetoric that went into the planning.

Andrea Vail's picture
Andrea Vail on January 28, 2004 - 21:32

Well done Peter! I’ve always wanted to do some expose on call centres, how poorly they treat their very hard working and valuable staff and waste govt. money at the same time. I myself worked at all 3 major call centres in Charlottetown, some longer than others, but they really are all the same. They want the quick buck and consider their staff disposable. At one place I worked at, management staff’s answer to employee complaints was that they could be replaced very easily… in other words shutup and get back to work…. we’ve got 80m calls in the queue and the service level is down below 70%… I’m so glad I got out after 4 and a half years.

Leo Cheverie's picture
Leo Cheverie on January 28, 2004 - 22:45

Great work Peter! I have been hearing horror stories from these outfits for years. Workers who ask too many questions
about their employment standards are drummed out the door and we all know what happened to the profitable call center who organized in New Brunswick -they closed their doors and left.
These news stories raise many questions regarding the state of employment creation on Prince Edward Island.
The Call Center fix has not created the type of long term and dependable jobs we need in our economy and do not reflect on quality IT or other employment needed. These call center firms come here for cheap labour and do not invest in the Province -even their equipment and space is only rented. The quality of worklife and what is demanded of employees in these modern day sweatshops is horrendous. This is all done not only with the acquiesence of government but in many cases with government dollars. There has to be a “connect” with not only the number of jobs created but the quality and durability of those jobs. The Department of Development’s position has been one where this job quality question is not examined fully. If an employer has not found willing workers — there are reasons for this. There are also reasons why Stats Canada figures month after month show how Islanders are paid on average both annually and hourly the lowest wages in the country and when work is available and they work longer hours than anyone else. Island workers deserve better!

Ken's picture
Ken on January 29, 2004 - 01:22

Attracting business with tax breaks seems to draw weak companies who press further each year for more breaks threatening to bailout and drop their workers unless the province deposits another cheque in their account.

Can anyone name one company the province lured here that now flourishes on it’s own?

I like Ann’s question about doing it a good way, but I’m stuck for an answer, still thinking about it though…

Kevin's picture
Kevin on January 29, 2004 - 01:24

Kudos Peter!
You articulated my call center concerns better than I could myself. If a call center employee handling subscription enquiries is an IT worker then administrative assistants and most other office workers should also be considered IT professionals since they use email and other computer applications in their jobs. The clerk at Aliant used a computer terminal to look up my account and alter account information when I paid my bill today. She must be an IT professional since she did the work of a call centre employee. Perhaps we should make a distinction between IT worker and IT professional.
I am not insulting anyones job or implying that call center workers do not deserve better conditions. I object to the government throwing money at companies to set up temporary, menial jobs and then having the gall to boast about a burgeoning IT sector.
In the interest of disclosure I will admit to being a downsized computer programmer (two university degrees, IT diploma from Holland College, two years programming in Delphi).

Cyn's picture
Cyn on January 29, 2004 - 14:59

My son worked at The Message Centre/Target Call Centre in Charlottetown for 7 months. He saved enough money to move to Montreal so he can go to school. He now works at a call centre in Montreal where it affrods hom the ability to pay his rent, eat and save for his tuition. He gets 9 dollars an hour and sales bonuses. For an 18 year old that’s not bad. The job he is doing is a service that seems to be in demand. For sure it is a McJob, but for a kid, McJobs are where it’s at.

Wayne's picture
Wayne on January 29, 2004 - 16:19

Yes, it does give work to kids, but what is wrong is to claim you are a public servant doing good things with public money by spending tax dollars to prop up a fly-by-nite sweatshop with no intentions of long term future in the community, and allowing that call center to implement draconian work conditions until the employees can take no more, then hear the company cannot fill positions when employees get fed up and therefore justify leaving, is wrong.

And to support this whole charade by claiming the positions are I.T., fooling the vast majority of the tax-paying population is adding insult to industry. Acknowledgement that call center work is not I.T. work is not anything new, but it is good to see someone speak up publically in a forum where it gets some attention and the public recognition it deserves.

If the call center service is truly valued in the community, why is it necessary that the employees are under clocks,(bathroom breaks are timed — calls are monitored for time and accuracy) and work long, late shifts for peanuts. Such a valued service should be able to provide decent working conditions, stand on its own feet and still make a profit…while keeping experienced, inspired employees who would, in turn, provide even better service.

It is valued work, but the industry is playing provincal governments against each other, like a teenager plays two separated parents, with the shareholders (Often political friends) laughing on the way to the bank. I am certainly not pro-union, but I am in this case, and, boy, do call centers ever deserve a union to stand up for them. I have seen some call center entrepreneurs on the golf course, looking for a new way to spend their fortune, with $800.00 dollar golf clubs, and .49 cent golf swings, looking very smug and stoic in their new found pass-time. All on the backs of their employees and government assistance.

Many comment on some local, low-paying employers, but at least the most commonly critizied fellow does not get government grants and leave town when the coffee cools.

Andrea Vail's picture
Andrea Vail on January 29, 2004 - 16:52

I have seen some call center entrepreneurs on the golf course, looking for a new way to spend their fortune, with $800.00 dollar golf clubs, and .49 cent golf swings, looking very smug and stoic in their new found pass-time. All on the backs of their employees and government assistance.

Bravo!!
I have also seen them playing golf in their offices ;-)

Mandy's picture
Mandy on January 29, 2004 - 18:30

Golf in office, party in office… whatever…. as long as you can sit in the “the office” you’re set.

I’m going to use the chance to step up on my soap box again and go a bit off topic.. but I do agree with Peter here 100%. These call center jobs, while are great for a quick buck, are costing us… I’ve been tempted many a time to go to a call center because sadly I could make a lot more there then I could working as special needs assistant in an early childhood learning center. I’d love to make a little money to save up, as right now saving money is not an option. And I think that’s so unfair. I know that people working in these “sweat shops” work their asses of and surly deserve more… but I also think it’s bogus that people like myself, who are also working their asses off, don’t get paid the money we deserve because the government doesn’t think our job is as important. Right now all the can see are these great “IT” jobs, and the golf courses that go with them.. Where are the government supports for private child care centers? Are these call centers not supposed to be private business as well?? Or am I misinformed?

I also agree with the bad turn over rates, how staff are treated, and the attitudes of both upper management, as well as phone techs, in places such as these. The unemployment offices cringe when you walk in the door here and say you are quitting your call center job. The mental stress it leaves people with… people are taking medical leave, UI and other benefits because they’re burnt out after only a few months. And while those benefits are there to help people, they wouldn’t need to be handed out so quickly if these call centers were run properly…. how that is, I’m not sure.. but I can guarantee there is a better system then the one we have now.

I watched a story on CNN one time about how American contracts where given to placed like Canada, middle eastern countries and so forth because it would be cheaper, and people were willing to work at any hour. Not like the people back home in the States…. but now the US wants these call centers back because they don’t want us to have “their jobs”… take um.

Ken's picture
Ken on January 29, 2004 - 18:43

Anne said:
So my question is, if doing it in a call centre is a Bad Way — what is a Good Way?

What if the call centre workers were part of an independant co-op that bid for call centre contracts. If the government gave this idea the same financial support, wouldn’t the conditions be more tolerable?

Also, why has telephone work been seperated from all other office work and placed on a treadmill of call timers and call recorders? Maybe the rest of the process is completely automated or doesn’t seperate as well as the call centre function. But isn’t it part of some bigger enterprise, part of what used to be called a receptionist job which included filing, typing, and other office work?
My point is that technology has created the call centre phenomenon by extracting that function from office work.

A real investment in the future of the technology industry on this island would be in voice recognition systems, the kind used in directory assistance, and in the support systems used by call centres. That is interesting. Nortel would be a nice partner in developing such systems.

In the current scheme where the workers have no stake in the venture, the managers become callous and there is a real gap there. Give call centre workers a stake in it, using the co-op model. That would be innovative.

Rob Paterson's picture
Rob Paterson on January 29, 2004 - 19:27

Thank you Peter
Not only is the subsidy of such work spurious but ask what is the work? Mainly it is calling us at 6pm to sell us soemthing that we don’t need. It is in effect phone spam.

The technical and banking support — not on PEI — this is in India. Robin phoned HSBC in Clapham London this morning and found herself on the line to a nice lady in Bombay!!!!.

Last rant — why ony 50 takers up West? Most find EI easier than working I fear

Ken's picture
Ken on January 29, 2004 - 22:23

Up yours Rob, from up West.

ken's picture
ken on January 29, 2004 - 23:17

Another fresh idea…

Instead of subsidizing the call centre companies, wouldn’t it me better to institute a special wage subsidy for call centre workers with that money. Add $5/hr to the current wages, to compensate the workers, which would make turnover lower etc.

Also, the province could establish some labour rules to avoid dehumanizing things like timed bathroom breaks.

Offer the call centre owners a workforce that is compensated well and respected, something different than just another province with a bucket of cash. Develop the workforce, let them afford to go golfing if they want to.
You’d have more golfers in the end.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on January 29, 2004 - 23:43

I’m with Ken on this one, Rob. Sorry.

Alan's picture
Alan on January 30, 2004 - 00:00

It would also limit the shell game and weed out those with no realistic business plan.

Wayne's picture
Wayne on January 30, 2004 - 02:23

N.B. has turned the provincial tourism call center over to a small northern community with high unemployment. All to garner votes in the area with jobs. I have spent some time working with many of the new employees. They answer calls about where attractions are located, hotels in the area, etc. Some of these nice people have language issues , and little training, but they are trying to learn very hard. And, they face abuse over the phone every day. Does anybody really blame them for taking the jobs and trying, even if they have some challenges? Sometimes, they have difficulty with english, sometimes they are asked about what movie is playing locally and when “Saan’s” sale starts…all kinds of foolish requests, but they must maintain decorum. And, quite often, students call to complain about their student loans running out. (Too much beer for their budget) I could go on about the unreasonableness of the public, and how call center employees must take it all. These people want the jobs, but have been put on a very steep learning curve. Many could file for EI but are trying to develop some kind of breakaway move away from this dependency. Make no mistake, it is all about votes, and providing jobs is a quick way to do it. But, rather then spend money and time to properly bring people up to speed, the government and their call center friends burn them out, and claim the locals are lazy, pick up, and move on. Nothing could be further from the truth. The next time you are unhappy with the service at a call center, consider where your anger should be directed.

the other vail's picture
the other vail on January 30, 2004 - 06:59

I tend to agree with Leo’s take on the subject. Unfortunatly it is not just the call center business, but manyothers as well.Our gov’ts, both past and present are only interested in a band-aid to cover a gaping wound in our economy. Instead of establishing some real industry here that provides stable employment, and thus a stable economy, we are being undersold as cheap labour. PEI is the Mexico or Sri Lanka of canada when it somes to cheap, disposable labour. Our very own governments are attracting these greedy sociopaths under the philosophy of “come to our Island- they will gladly work twice as hard for half pay than someone to do the same job in Toronto” Ahh, if they would only let me rule the world for a year… hehe

Mark's picture
Mark on January 30, 2004 - 08:32

so um yeah
/begin rant
this part i dont understand…over worked..maybe..but how can we be over worked sitting on our ass answering a phone..I mean i have worked in a call centre for the past 4 and a half years and well if the place i worked for were such slave drivers as you people make them out to be, I would have been long gone…As for call center jobs being classified as IT work, depending on certain contracts that call centres do, they are in their own right IT work. You guide someone over the phone to fix their Internet problem sure as hell sounds like IT work for me. Government money not being invested,get off your high horse guys, of ALL the stupid shit that the provincial government invests, call centres arent that bad of a choice…I worked at the call centre that got closed down in Montague, and let me tell you, without the money from the government, the 100 or so people that came through the place would have nothing under their belt, they would still be sitting back on EI with their thumbs up their asses..Sure some of them are doing that now but the majority have gone on to work for other call centres, so the unemployment rate doesnt get affected as much as most of you seem to think..Sure there are a helluva lot better jobs out there, but for PEI making an average of 10 bucks an hour(roughly) to answer a phone aint that bad…

/rant

Wayne's picture
Wayne on January 30, 2004 - 17:33

How can it be done better?
What if…
the provincal government, instead of offering a bucket full of cash, offered a trained, qualified, professional, unionized staff on a contractual basis to prospective call centers for setting up here. This would eliminate the need for most call-center middle-management(where most companys develop problems)end the need for recruitment, training, and staff retention problems, provide communities with consistant, sustainable and humane employment, a tax base for the government, and end of government friends skimming the profits??

Mike's picture
Mike on January 30, 2004 - 19:40

Good discussion, I did a post on this issue in my blog, from an “up-west” perspective, title “con game” which pretty much tells you where I am at:

So the con is they treat their employees like shit, people quit, no one wants to work for them and off they go. The word on the street, ask anyone, the response you get is “They treat their staff like shit”. That approach may work in the city, where you have a larger workforce, but in small rural communities they do not want to go somewhere and be treated like crap. So they stay away, the problem is caused by the company, they can talk all they want about a labour pool, but it starts at the management level and believe me shit does roll downhill. They have no stake in the community, they take the money and run, I am sure you have the same con going on where you live too. Doesn’t anyone get it?”

Mark's picture
Mark on January 31, 2004 - 00:08

Wayne:
You’re idea is not a bad one however it does have a few flaws..The concept of having the government being responsible for training the people would again just be throwing money down the drain this time at themselves vs a company..It would be pointless because call centres can be so specialized and some of the stuff they deal with is quite senstive, so they wouldnt want just some governetment group trying to teach these people things about a companys product that they dont even know about for sure.And again offering unionized staff can lead to the problem of a lot of business wanting to steer clear of PEI as unions can be a bad thing as much as they are a good thing..

Rusty's picture
Rusty on January 31, 2004 - 15:30

The thing is that wooing Call Centres to re-locate to rural PEI is a short term solution to a chronic problem. Time after time, we see our provincial government throw millions at off-shore companies who then provide a glamourous number of jobs that the politician can take credit for at the next election. Inevitably, the jobs dry up. The reason for this is that it is not viable for government to artificially create industry. If it was viable, companies could do it without government assistance and the jobs and the companies would be more stable. We have to stop the quick fixes and put our tax dollars into long-term approaches.

Wayne's picture
Wayne on January 31, 2004 - 16:07

For sure, what has been done to this point is not working. I don’t understand why our government continues to do the same thing over and over, hoping for a different result?? I think that if government is continued to be blamed for the lack of economic development, they are justified in trying something to fix that problem. If “it is not viable for government to artifically create industry”, why is it so often blamed as the sole reason for our lack of same?

I just think they need a new approach, and to get started before our neighbours do. Does PEI have a “Think Tank”?

Ken's picture
Ken on January 31, 2004 - 18:20

This is the think tank

Rob paterson's picture
Rob paterson on February 1, 2004 - 15:21

Ken and others
I should have made my comment differently — cheap shots deserve your response and I am sorry.

Can I try another way? My major point is that we can easily be exploited on PEI because we don’t have a broadly based economy and we have a widespread culture that does not consider getting much of an education essential.

We claim to have a seasonal economy on PEI. In practice we do have a seasonal economy. I ask is EI a cause of this seasonal economy? Part of the Island culture that I cannot get my mind around is how ‘normal’ it is to look for weeks and then backfill with EI. We take for granted that work only exists in the summer. This is how it is but does it have to be and what role does EI play in this perpetuation of the seasonal economy?

Is this seasonal economy and the ease and social acceptance of EI become driver for boys to see school as meaningless? To stay in school and go on to university means being poor and having large debts with no guarantee on PEI of a decent job at the end of the process. On the other hand, going fishing with dad can bring a lot more money than for the boy who stays in school. Is EI a driver for poor educational attainment for boys — especially poor in rural PEI?

If EI is a driver for the retention of the Seasonal economy and a driver for poor attainment at school doeas this not expose us to exploitation such as call centres and all the follishness we see in development? Is up west especially vulnerable to these forces?

Alan's picture
Alan on February 1, 2004 - 15:38

I think that is right Rob and it doesn’t help when government bodies like the Liquor stores have a policy of letter a large part of staff go ever 13 weeks to pick up the next appointed roster. It may create 4 times the income but it also creates familiarity with dependency. What is also interesting is that it may affect boys more than girls — so many educated 20 year old women we knew moved away for the hope of finding someone intellegent.

Ken's picture
Ken on February 1, 2004 - 16:23

First of all Rob, thanks for making an argument rather than dismissing us as lazy EI PEI. Now you’ve got me thinking rather than wincing!

There is a balance between providing relief during winter and engraining the mindset that winter means no jobs. In fact it’s the same as changing the provinces dependance on transfer payments — the alternative is a shock. Which way would the shock move us, despair and frustration; or on the path towards self reliance? The one difference is that if EI is cut, people can use their feet to improve their situation. The province is not so portable and winter is going to be less bountiful here, at least tourism, farming, fishing are. So what do we do all winter indoors, without farmland and ocean access, that could be marketable?

Building skills is one answer. Let’s make excellent cheese; write books and software; find a cure for cancer.

Let’s use our small size as an advantage. Make all calls local. If there are three people in PEI that like, say model rocket building, bring them together. What about free postage within the province, ya that’s right, free postage. And public transit from Tignish to Souris. What would that cost, about one call centre?

I recently read that Moncton is getting direct flights from Paris over the summer! Besides making new personal connections, this allow seafood to arrive fresh in Paris.
What would it cost to subsidize a direct flight from Charlottetown to London? One or two call centres? Well, first just get rid that embarrising $12 surprise airport fee!

My personal dream is a three ship fleet of sailing ships, each with about a dozen cabins, that make a circuit between Iceland, Greenland, Newfoundland, PEI and Cape Breton. Artists, poets and students would get half price fare. I wonder if those other islands are interested?

Ken's picture
Ken on February 1, 2004 - 16:26

How do you change a culture?

Rob paterson's picture
Rob paterson on February 1, 2004 - 17:20

Phew! We are on the same page Ken. Sorry again.

I think very much as you do — we have to get together to help ourselves and we may start by doing all we can to make it easy to make PEI ONE COMMUNITY ie immplement many of your ideas re phones tec.

How do you change a culture — really hard — a crisis helps and we surely are in the beginning of one = provides the motive to do something different. (farming, fishing and tourism as we do it now all in the dumper)Build some networks around differrent ways of doing this such as build a local food network where we buy food direectly from our neighbours and process here on PEI. Sell food directly to the schools so that our chiuldren can have better nutrition. Build direct food networks to sell fresh seafood and the seafood experience to restaurants in the large cities rather than rely on brokers. Start networks that help families with young children.

My point if we get behind each other — we will truly grow our way out of the mess that we are in

Wayne's picture
Wayne on February 1, 2004 - 18:17

Maybe George W. has it right? (Here we go…)Why not set up trade barriers at the bridge? Force industry to set up here if they want to sell us cars, and mustard. No more French wine, just local grapes and Freedom fries. Make those jobs leave Upper Canada, and start providing jobs here. Really, this is tongue-in-cheek, but does point out the challenges of trying to establish a local, focal economy.(Is that a real economic term?) We cannot do it. We need to emphasis what we have, and that is, like it or not, mainly a great place to be in summer and bring up kids. And places like Ontario need someplace like that. Short of taking over the Turks and Caicos, we are the best choice they have in Canada. This all means a seasonal economy, until they can extend the summer season to 365 days. And, for many, a period of the year when employment is not available.

Dex's picture
Dex on February 1, 2004 - 19:35

One of the most heart-breaking and stubborn aspects of this culture is that so many Island parents are indifferent — or even hostile — to the idea that their kids should have a meaningful education. You’d expect the shocking illiteracy statistics of the past year to have jolted the whole province into action. This should have been the main focus of the provincial election. Instead, we had one big province-wide yawn. You encounter so many people who hated school themselves, who find it perfectly natural that their kids hate school, and who are prepared to take their kids’ side against the “enemy” — those uppity teachers. A number of observers have pointed out that PEI is not just suffering a drop-out problem with students. Dedicated teachers give up on the system too, and take their professionalism down the TransCanada. The ones who remain often find it easier simply to go through the motions, and pass year after year of graduates who can hardly read and write.

Kevin's picture
Kevin on February 2, 2004 - 17:21

One industry that government was instrumental in nurturing was AEROSPACE or whatever the appropriate buzz word is. Why has it grown when others failed… …

A REALIST's picture
A REALIST on February 22, 2004 - 10:40

It never is enough is it guys….

I am a person whom likes my job and I work when I am there so I get what most should out of a job a pay cheque and at the end of each day I know I have helped someone.Now I would not like out bound thats forsure but I think a team is only as good as its management .If you are willing to work and apply yourself you can have fulfillment anywhere.
If you go to work with attitude the other end of the phone will have the same try being a lttle bit more positive and Thank Goodness you have a job instead of complaining.Everyday life is hard enough consider the time it takes to create the jobs you have and the effort needed to continue.

Ben's picture
Ben on February 22, 2004 - 22:59

I can’t help but notice that this entire thread has been written without using a single company as an example. I worked at the Online Support call centre in Charlottetown for 5 months before moving away and they seem to be an exception to just about every complaint listed here. The employees may not be treated as great as they could be, but the same could be said for any employer. The pay is good, raises are frequent if you stick around and overtime shifts were offered all the time for thos that wanted them when I was there. For a job that didn’t even require a high school diploma the pay was great compared to other jobs in town. Answering inbound calls to help people resolve internet and email related problems is a valuable service and the centre has won awards for its customer service. I don’t know if OLS gets any govt subsidies but I do know they’re one of the largest non-governmental employees on PEI. I also know there were plenty of there when I was there who had worked there for 3,4 or 5 years. Turnover might be high among a certain portion of the staff but they also have a core who have been there for years.

Everyone seems to be painting with one big brush here and not realizing that call centres can be valuable employers who offer valuable services.

shaheer's picture
shaheer on April 2, 2004 - 19:27

One major factor that has to be considered in this argument is the fact that workers in China do not have to pay as much for their everyday goods and they do not have as many expenses as we do in America.Say an American that makes a hefty $104,000 a year spends about an average of $20 a day on food.That would equal $140 a week, which would equal 7% of the hefty weekly income of $2000.If a Chinese worker spends only $0.05 per meal it would equal $1.05 per week.If this worker

Ronnie Hut's picture
Ronnie Hut on April 6, 2004 - 01:15

Listen Joe, when you work you go there to work and mind you own business. Simply do not pay attention to others but yourself. If you do not like the place then leave, plain and simple. Also if employee’s do not meet the standards of the position, then they have no business being in that position. Don’t like too bad it’s life, get use to it.

Douglas Dunn's picture
Douglas Dunn on May 26, 2004 - 11:56

Hello

My Name is Douglas Dunn

Im currently in the process of persuing a harassment case against RMH Teleservices International Inc. I would appreciate any information you might be willing to provide with regard to your experiences, as well as if you know of any other individual who is or was an employee of RMH Teleservices. Im fighting an uphill battle with the management of RMh Teleservices and my case with BC Human Rights.

Thank-you in Advance

Douglas Dunn

doug@foxcomtech.com
www.reallymakeithappen.com

asdfas's picture
asdfas on June 7, 2004 - 06:34

YAYYYYYYYYY nmore sweatr shops

bullseye's picture
bullseye on June 11, 2004 - 01:46

I just discovered this site while trying to find the legalities of taping conversations. I have worked in an inbound call cenre for almost 1 year. Today we were told that each and every one of our calls will now be recorded. Previously only 2 a week were recorded for monitering purposes. The recording can continue up to 10 seconds after the call is finished, which would then include any conversation you might have with a co-workerr. Does anyone here know how legal this is? I’m in Ontario.

Panzer's picture
Panzer on July 4, 2004 - 23:02

Anyone that writes about complaining about something deserves to be shot…shut and and take another one up the butt…!

DJ's picture
DJ on August 10, 2004 - 22:33

WHEN YOU APPLY FOR A JOB AT A CALL CENTRE THEY SAY THERE HERE TO OFFER GREAT EMPLOYMENT, WHAT THEY DON’T TELL YOU IS THAT THEY’LL USE AND ABUSE YOU ANY WAY THEY CAN AND THERE ARE NO RULES FOR THEM TO FOLLOW.
WE SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO STAND UP FOR OURSELVE’S INSTEAD OF BEING FORCED TO QUIT OR BE FIRED.
I need to know is there anything I as an indviual can do about being mistreated by many call centres that I have worked for over the years. I’m tired of these call centres coming to my province and making it difficult for ME to stay within a good work place.
IF ANYONE HAS INFO PLEASE REPLY.
LETS DO SOMETHING ABOUT INFAIRNESS IN CALL CENTRE’S
THANKS — DJ

Heather's picture
Heather on January 25, 2005 - 00:02

What I think is really sad is b/c most jobs on the island pay only minimum wage or close to it — people view 10 dollars an hour or grossing 20 grand a year as pretty good! Anyone who tries to live on this with a one income household would see this different also. I very much agree with “the other vail” — PEI gets marketed as a place where people will work hard for low wages — saving the company money to expand their sweatshops throughout other low income areas. I do love Prince Edward Island but ‘what goes around comes around’ — if the incomes are higher people spend more and success of small businesses and individuals is increased. Another note — 75% of women on PEI make $7.50 an hour or less  — living well under the poverty line. Making 10 dollars an hour and not always getting 40 hrs a week puts you under the poverty line also.

Pages

Add new comment