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Article

9 Aug 2021

Author:
Peter Walker, The Guardian

Unions accuse call centre giant Teleperformance of monitoring & surveilling remote workers across Europe; incl. co. comments

"Call centre used by UK firms accused of intrusively monitoring home workers", 8 August 2021

A multinational call centre used by dozens of leading UK companies has been criticised for what unions have called the intrusive monitoring of home-working staff and their families, as well as asking workers to hand over biometric and medical data.

Unions say Teleperformance, which also answers calls for a series of UK government departments, is “pushing workers’ boundaries” over long-term home working amid coronavirus, and accuse the company of having unfairly targeted several staff who objected.

While the claims do not directly affect the company’s 10,000 UK staff, some of the criticism centres on countries in which English-speaking staff answer calls to UK customers, such as Greece and Albania.

The French-based company, which employs about 380,000 people in 34 countries, says it fully complies with all local and international laws, and that feedback from staff shows overwhelmingly positive responses...

...In Britain the company’s clients include the health and education departments of the UK government, NHS Digital, the Student Loans Company, the RAF and the Royal Navy. The companies it works for include Vodafone, eBay, Aviva, Volkswagen and the Guardian.

The revelations come after some UK-based Teleperformance home workers were told in March this year to expect remote monitoring by video cameras, which would check whether they were eating, looking at their phones or leaving their desks.

After UK employees contacted the Guardian they were told this would not happen. Teleperformance insists the UK rollout of video cameras was never for remote monitoring, just training and colleague chats.

However, concerns have been raised about the company’s practices in other countries...

...A spokesperson for Teleperformance said the company used webcams “primarily for collaboration purposes” such as meetings and training.

They said: “Everywhere we operate, Teleperformance complies with all local, national and international laws, regulations and standards that apply to our business, including those regarding security, privacy and compliance, as well as specific client requirements should they be greater.

“Prior to our use of webcams, we followed GDPR guidelines on assessing data protection risks. The Covid-19 crisis did not alter Teleperformance’s commitment to the principles and regulations on which the protection of our employees’ privacy is based.”