The bombshell

As I’ve mentioned in my previous couple of posts things have been very busy in the call-centre owing to a cock-up by one client and an ad campaign from another which seems to have hit a gusher of pent-up demand among well-to-do middle aged women – the kind who have house names rather than numbers and who it seems are happy to fritter away their spare cash on some horrendously overpriced carnation bouquets. In fact they’re queing up to do so and getting rather agitated about spending 20 minutes on the phone.

It therefore comes as a bit of a shock to hear through the grapevine (I’m not in today hence my posting now and my lack of details) that our manager told everyone to come off the phones as there was a fire alarm. Once off the phones our manager announced that everyones hours will be cut by 20% for a three month period. Apparently it was this option, or voluntary redundancy and management had decided against that so a 20% cut in hours it is.

This I must say is fairly typical of our firm, no warning, no consultation, people are just handed a fait-accompli and told to get on with it. As I say I don’t know many details just yet, but there was a rumour last week of something happening as (there is a bit of a backstory here which is all rather juicy and involves alleged embezzlement and a failed take-over bid- maybe more on this soon) the owner of the company announced he was to be retiring soon sparking a rumour that as there was no buyer forthcoming the firm would be shut down.

I felt this to be pretty foundationless as the firm appears to be doing well. It certainly seems to be doing well enough to continue to justify a hands-off customer service manager who must be pulling in at least 25k a year – surely they’d have the most to fear as they aren’t actually doing a job job? Anyway, I reasoned that as we’d received a pay rise at the start of the year – the first in 4 or 5 years in fact, and as a couple of temps were taken on after Christmas rather than simply shown the door in January or February, and that as we have been the busiest we have been since December and also that we’ve landed another new client that we were on fairly safe territory.

My first thoughts are for some of my colleagues who I know are struggling. Working in a call centre barely covers the bills particularly if you have a family to provide for. For full-time staff a 20% cut in hours adds up to one day a week which isn’t going to be easy.


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