New report exposes deplorable conditions in Teleperformance contact centres serving Spanish consumers
When Spanish consumers call the customer helpline for some of the country’s most recognizable companies, such as Vodafone and Naturgy, they do not know the deplorable working conditions on the other side of the line.
A new report by UNI Global Union exposes serious non-compliance with human and labour rights in the offshored, Colombian call centres that service the Spanish market. These facilities are operated by the French multinational Teleperformance.
“Teleperformance’s Colombian contact centre operation is the primary destination for offshored services for the Spanish market, and behind the professional, friendly voices of these workers is pain and exploitation,” said Teresa Casertano, Head of UNI’s Information and Communication Technology Services sector.
UNI’s report is the result of an in-depth investigation that contacted dozens of Teleperformance employees. Customer service representatives detailed dehumanizing treatment on the job, including:
Alleged discrimination against women, for example, women workers are forced to take a pregnancy test—a practice that violates Colombian law;
Non-compliance with wage payments such as alleged failure to pay Colombia’s legally mandated minimum wage and noncompliance with laws governing working hours;
Extreme invasions of workers' privacy;
Obstruction of workers’ right to have a union and collectively bargain.
The subminimum pay and other abuses can have a devastating effect on workers and their families. Some report that having to choose between financial survival and providing their children with necessary medical treatment. “We don’t have the right to get sick or go to a meeting at our kids’ schools,” one worker told UNI researchers, “because it affects our income.”
Considering these conditions, UNI is calling for the companies using Teleperformance services in Colombia to take responsibility for worker abuses in their supply chain.
“Companies in Spain using Teleperformance should be shocked by what is happening to the workers representing them. They should take immediate action to hold Teleperformance accountable and ensure that workers’ rights are protected,” Casertano said.
Operating in nearly 80 countries and employing more than 300,000 people globally, Teleperformance is the world’s largest provider of outsourced customer support. Its clients include Google, Apple, AT&T, Vodafone, and Uber. The company has come under fire recently for having inadequate structures in place to ensure that its world-wide operations adhere to local and international labor standards.
UNI Global Union is an international trade union federation representing more than 20 million workers in the services sector of the economy in 150 countries around the world. UNI ICTS represents more than 3 million workers in the technology and communications sectors. UNI ICTS is coordinating a global effort of Teleperformance unions to make the company a more responsible, sustainable corporation.