Covid-19 - call centre workers and health and safety/ union challenges and organisation

Taylor, Philip (2020) Covid-19 - call centre workers and health and safety/ union challenges and organisation. International Union Rights, 27 (3). pp. 16-18. ISSN 1018-5909

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    Working in call centres in the weeks following WHO declaring Covid-19 a pandemic (11 March 2020) generated an extraordinary depth and breadth of anxiety. In spring 2020, every Thursday at 8pm, communities across the UK celebrated the dedication of those fighting to save lives from Covid-19. The focus was those working on a visible front line, the nurses, doctors, paramedics, cleaners in the National Health Service and on the shockingly underpaid and vulnerable care home workers coping with the most extreme human tragedy. Recognition was also given to shop workers, pharmacists, delivery drivers, postal workers and others, who keep people supplied, fed and protected. Yet, other workers perform active service on an invisible front line, namely call / contact centre workers, even saving lives through their skills on emergency or help lines. With face-to face service prohibited, phone, email, internet and other contact become vital. Vulnerable people, shielding, may rely on telecom call-handlers for connectivity, or financial service agents responding to urgent money queries or civil servants processing state benefits or furlough payments.

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