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Union's 'alarm' over hub jobs plan
UNION chiefs have warned their bosses they will resist any attempts to privatise the jobs of Worcestershire call centre workers.
Steve Brown, of the county’s Unison branch, said he was “alarmed” at proposals which could see a shake-up of the Worcestershire Hub.
The service deals with face-to-face queries at its base in the civic centre, but telephone calls are answered by staff at the hub’s call centre in Perry Wood Walk, Worcester.
Talks are due to start with private operators over the shake-up, with council chiefs saying they want to keep the jobs in Worcestershire.
Mr Brown said: “Nobody has spoken to us about the discussions yet, but we would hope for some dialogue soon.
“The people who work at the hub are our members. If they are merged with the revenues and benefits staff or sent to a private company we would have to be consulted.
“We have been alarmed at what is being said. We’ve heard people saying the jobs are safe, but in our experience when services are handed over to private operators that is not always the end result. We don’t want it.”
About 50 staff work at the hub’s call centre, which handles queries from the public on everything from potholes to council tax.
Wychavon District Council employs 95 workers at the revenues and benefits shared service operation.
Vic Allison, deputy managing director, has said that one option would be to create a ‘centre of excellence’ at the council’s civic centre.
That could potentially mean staff at the call centre transferring, resulting in a beefed-up department run privately.
He said he is likely to insist any private company does not take any of the jobs out of the county.
The main reason for the change is because the Government is simplifying Universal Credit next year, which means lots of existing work done by revenues and benefits staff will go back to the Department for Work and Pensions.