A major survey aimed at measuring stress levels among staff in Virgin Media, EE and TalkTalk call centres has been launched by the Communication Workers’ Union ( CWU).
The survey will run throughout October and can be accessed from the CWU’s website www.cwu.org. It is open to call centre workers in all three companies, regardless of whether they are union members.
The survey is based on the Government’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) stress survey, which is part of a wider Government initiative aimed at helping employers and employees to tackle workplace stress.
CWU deputy general secretary Andy Kerr said call centres have a reputation for being stressful work places, arguing that this stems from the controlled environment in call centres in which employees are monitored closely against a range of targets.
Kerr said the survey is focusing on EE, Virgin Media and Talk Talk call centres where the CWU has fast growing call centre membership but no formal recognition.
‘The trouble is that much of the evidence about the stress this generates is circumstantial - especially in workplaces where the union doesn't currently have recognition - and that's why we're focusing this survey on (these) three major companies.’
He added: ‘By achieving a clear and impartial picture of what's actually going on, on the call centre floor, the CWU can start the work of pinpointing the main stress trigger points - and that, in turn, will provide pointers as to how unhealthy stress levels can best be tackled.’
Kerr said the CWU is hoping the three companies will engage in ‘meaningful discussions’ about the findings of the survey which has an analysis tool, provided by the HSE, which scientifically analyses the results and benchmarks them against an average of results gathered in over 130 other organisations.
Kerr said: 'We intend to share the results of the three parallel surveys we're running amongst our members in Virgin Media, Everything Everywhere and TalkTalk with the respective companies, the aim being to start a conversation on this very important issue.’
He added: ‘Stress is the number one cause of workplace absence, costing organisations millions of pounds each year and contributing to illness and depression, so tackling it is in everyone's interests.’
‘The more responses we get, the stronger the results will be and the better chance we have of making the positive changes our members are crying out for.’
Editor: Carol Millett