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Shuttered call centre sours Capita's £58m contract extension with Tesco Mobile

Communication Workers Union believes 'scores of employees' will be placed 'at risk' under proposals

Tesco Mobile has extended its customer management contract with Capita for another three years as part of ongoing plans to streamline the grocer-cum-telco's customer service operation.

The deal – worth £57.6m over three years starting September 2021 – bolts on to the £140m five-year deal inked in 2016.

Back then, those involved said the deal would "enhance" Tesco's already "award-winning customer service propositions" to keep punters happy.

This latest announcement takes this relationship another step forward offering "further opportunities for improvements to customer service [including telesales and renewals calls] whilst securing shared efficiencies through technology deployment and a new hybrid working model."

While Capita is keen to focus on the positive, some frontline staff aren't sure if they will be part of the plans following news that its contact centre in Bury, north Manchester, is facing the chop.

Earlier this month the Warrington Guardian reported that there were fears Capita's decision to close the call centre could lead to job losses.

In a statement, Capita said: "As we move to adopt a working model that is both home and office-based, while also making the most of our property footprint, we have made the difficult decision to close our Bury contact centre. In the future, the work will be delivered from our Preston Brook [Warrington] office alongside a home working solution.

"As part of the consultation, we plan to retain as many colleagues as possible on this contract, while also pursuing alternative opportunities across Capita both in other offices in the region and home-based roles. We are supporting our colleagues through these changes."

The news sparked a swift response from the Communication Workers Union (CWU) and was backed by local politicians including Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham and Bury Council leader Eamonn O'Brien.

A recent protest outside the contact centre that provides the Tesco Mobile contract – as well as Capita's TV Licensing gig – featured banners saying: "CWU – fighting to keep Capita Tesco Mobile jobs in Bury."

Pressing their case, the CWU said: "While Capita continues to deny the closure of the Bury site constitutes a redundancy exercise, the CWU believes that scores of employees will inevitably be placed 'at risk' under company's proposals."

In a statement issued to the CWU, Capita tried to play down the news insisting that any changes will be "agreed within the TMCP (Tesco Mobile Capita Partnership) and CWU redeployment principles.

"The Tesco Mobile Capita Partnership transformation programme is considerable and includes the introduction of new technologies and a colleague development programme.

"We want to bring the majority of colleagues together to positively influence engagement, productivity and team performance." ®

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