Members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) held a protest outside the Leeds O2 call centre on Wednesday 5th June, opposing the companies plans to oursouce four UK call centres to Capita. In the last week it had been leaked to the press that Capita plans on closing two of the call centres and cutting staffing at the remaining two.
Iain Dalton, Leeds Socialist Party
This was the third of four protests at 02s call centres in Bury, Preston Brook, Glasgow as well as Leeds. On Friday, CWU served notice of a strike ballot opposing the changes and already this has brought results, with Capita and 02 management coming to the Leeds site for negotiations with union representatives.
Union members at the site were outraged at the news, especially given that they had heard rumours of these plans which the company had denied. Several suspected that the recent drop in O2s profits by a third, although still remaining at £276m, had inspired them to try to boost them by using Capita to attack staffing levels, pay and conditions.
Whilst the protest was predominantly made up of 02 employees on the site, many of whom came out during their breaks to join the protest, it was also supported by other reps from the West Yorkshire CWU branch and other local trade unionists came along to offer warmly received support.