More protests against outsourcing to India

Tuesday, 17 February 2004, 08:00 Hrs
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LONDON: The campaign in Britain against outsourcing to India is spreading, with trade unions appealing to consumers to boycott companies that have moved jobs to the Asian economy.

Amicus, which represents most British call centre workers, is coordinating the protests. It is working with the National Union of Students on an email and publicity campaign questioning the ethics of outsourcing to India.

Students will be encouraged to boycott companies such as HSBC, British Airways and Norwich Union.

"We want to ask what conditions people are working in, in India," said David Fleming, the national secretary for finance at Amicus.

"People have to work at night, often being bussed many kilometres from their communities, and this causes high stress levels. One call centre is known as the '15 pounder' because that's how much weight you lose in the first week working there."

The Indian high commission has rejected these criticisms and has invited representatives from Amicus and other unions to see conditions for themselves.

Amicus is also one of five unions backing a commission to investigate the effect of off shoring on British employment. The unions are to invite a British business leader to chair the commission.

Trade Secretary Patricia Hewitt has said that she will launch an investigation into the effect of off shoring on the British call centre industry. However, the unions want to widen the probe to include other sectors.

Source: IANS
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