UK telco plans to cut call center jobs in Philippines

By Ryan Chua, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 25 2014 02:24 PM | Updated as of Feb 25 2014 11:55 PM

Briton starts petition vs EE for jobs cut

LONDON—A British man has begun an online petition calling for a boycott of a giant telecommunications company that recently announced it is pulling out contact center jobs overseas, including those in the Philippines.

Malcolm Conlan, who is married to a Filipina, believes the decision by EE to bring back to the UK the overseas call center jobs was wrong. EE owns Orange and T-Mobile.

“I just believe that the Philippines is going through a time at the moment when we should be encouraging investment to the country,” he told ABS-CBN News. “As far as I’m concerned, this is a time when we should be promoting Filipino call centers.”

Conlan, known to the Filipino community in Britain as someone very passionate about Philippine issues, has been aggressively promoting his campaign against EE on Facebook and his other social media accounts. He has also written letters to EE expressing his concern over the decision to pull out overseas call center jobs.

Launched last February 21, his petition has garnered 12 signatures so far.

EE has declined to be interviewed regarding the issue, and has not yet responded to ABS-CBN’s request for comment.

In its website, however, it said the latest move was a “major boost to job-seekers while reaffirming its commitment to set the standard for customer service levels in the telecoms sector.”

“The jobs drive will see EE bring back 1,000 customer service jobs to the UK from overseas service centers, with a plan for approximately 250 roles in Northern Ireland from Spring 2014,” it said.

EE added that the program is part of an effort to tackle youth unemployment in Britain as more than 900,000 people aged 16 to 24 are currently out of work.

A report by the Daily Mail last week cited customer dissatisfaction with overseas call center agents as among the reasons for the pullout.

The business process outsourcing industry is among the Philippines’ biggest sectors, generating billions of dollars in revenues every year.

The Philippines has overtaken India as the world’s call center capital because of lower labor costs, an educated work force, and English proficiency.

Conlan said he supports creating jobs in his own country, where the unemployment rate recently dropped to 7.1 percent.

“But at the end of the day, as far as I’m concerned, whenever I’ve called in the past, Filipinos have been sort of caring, friendly. They understand our needs and concerns,” he said.