Streikaufruf im spanischen Call Center und Telemarketing

Please hold the line - Call Center FantasienDie CGT Telemarketing hat in ganz Spanien die Beschäftigten von Call Centern zu Streikaktionen aufgerufen. Vor dem Hintergrund seit 18 Monaten andauernder Tarifverhandlungen mit dem Verband der Call Center Unternehmen scheinen diesmal auch die Mehrheitsgewerkschaften bereit zu sein, zum Streik aufzurufen. Dies war im Mai 2016 noch anders, als die CGT die einzige Gewerkschaft war, die dies tat, mit einigem Erfolg zwar, aber eben als Minderheitsgewerkschaft begrenzt. Wie sie auch die bisher abgeschlossenen 5 Tarifverträge in der Branche ablehnte, unter anderem weil darin Entschädigungszahlungen bei (erleichterten) Entlassungen vorgesehen sind, die unter dem gesetzlich vorgeschriebenen Niveau liegen. Wie in diesen Tarifverträgen auch erleichterte Bedingungen für das Outsourcing beinhaltet waren, die zu einer regelrechten Entlassungswelle in der Branche geführt hätten, so die CGT. In der Mitteilung „CALL CENTER STRIKE AND MOBILIZATIONS IN THE SPANISH STATE“ der CGT Telemarketing vom 06. September 2016 wird hervorgehoben, dass die Situation sich insofern verändert habe, als etwa die Forderung des Unternehmerverbandes, für zwei Jahre die Gehälter einzufrieren – nachdem beim letzten Abkommen bereits eine Erhöhung unterhalb der Inflationsrate vereinbart worden war – auch von den Mehrheitsgewerkschaften des Sektors nicht akzeptiert werden kann.

CALL CENTER STRIKE AND MOBILIZATIONS IN THE SPANISH STATE

Madrid 6th September 2016

The General Work Confederation (CGT) in the Spanish state has started the proceedings to call on a 24-hour strike and temporary 2-hour standstills  owing to the call center industry situation in the Spanish state.

The status of this sector has been steadily deteriorating throughout many years on end. Since it was set up for several companies to outsource the customer support service in the nineties, it has employed more and more workers while continuously deteriorating their working conditions.

The majority unions have so far signed up 5 collective agreements on a statewide basis containing this industry’s workers rights and some additional clauses that allowed companies which decided to change its outsourcing partner to dismiss its employees paying them a ridiculous severance pay for them to be signed up by the new contractor with no seniority recognition. This agreement’s clause (item number 18) has resulted in firing dozens of thousands of workers in these last two decades.

Another agreement’s clause CGT has historically fought against is the item number 17, which allows that a company wich states the number of calls is decreasing at a certain campaign dismiss its workers with a severance pay lower than the one set up by the Spanish Workers Act for the so-called objective dismissal. Therefore the collective agreement cheapens dismissals. That item number 17 has also expelled thousands of workers from the call center market for years on end.

Salaries are also ridiculous. The average salary is 700€ per month, since part-time jobs have become widespread in the last years. Managers don’t want full-time workers because it’s much harder to exploit them. As if we were meat for a mincing machine they crush and squeeze us until we, sick and fed of it, leave our jobs.

Labour health is not certainly an entrepreneurial priority either. Anxiety and stress sick leaves are the order of the day. Although initially this industry used to be supported on a customer support basis, the obligation to sell products and services in every call has become a real cross for all call center operators. They must sell by all means and those who don’t do it are pressed hard until they leave their jobs, either because they’re burnt out or take a sick leave longer than usual or they are simply fired through an unfair dismissal.

Yet all these problems are not the only ones which lead us to the strike. The companies belonging to this sector, assembled at a single employers’ association, have been negotiating the new statewide collective agreement for 18 months and want to impose even worse conditions to their workers. For instance they want that workers salaries, whose yearly increase was merely a 1% since 2010, be frozen with a 0% increase in 2014 and 2015.

Besides managers want to foster flexitime to make workers impossible to work at several companies. With the current salaries at the call center industry it’s impossible to make ends meet and employers want to worsen our life conditions even further. They pursue their benefit through our sacrifice.

CGT was the only union which called on partial standstills last May, but it’s hard to mobilize all this sector’s workers by separate actions promoted by a minority organization. On this occasion it seems that majority unions are also ready to call on the standstills and the strike, consequently the success of these actions might significantly grow up on the spot.

We ask all brother organizations and all call center unions to send us supporting statements we’ll deliver among all workers on a statewide basis. The delocalization threat is also a danger we fight against every day by explaining Latin American or North African workers aren’t the problem but reckless call center employers who act and exploit workers on a worldwide basis.