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Sitel redundancies show perils of Private Equity

Sitel redundancies show perils of Private Equity - EPMU

One hundred and ten workers at call centre company Sitel’s Palmerston North site have been told today that they’re out of a job because their Yellow Pages work has been contracted to Teletech and will be outsourced to the Philippines.

The cost-cutting move comes after the Yellow Pages group was bought by a private equity consortium for $2 billion in March this year and follows a similar decision by Telecom to send Sitel contracts to the Philippines last year.

EPMU national secretary Andrew Little says the move shows the danger private equity poses to Kiwi jobs.

“The reality is that private equity owners of businesses have no loyalty to the communities their businesses operate in, and Sitel’s new owners have shown what that means.

“There’s no way this is about better service for New Zealand customers or about the long-term growth of the business because English is a distant third language for the people who will be fielding these calls and earlier outsourcing to the same country has shown this.

“This is a classic ‘strip and flip’ exercise.

“They’re looking to strip out as many costs as possible in order to flip it on for a short-term profit and that’s no good for the business and it’s certainly no good for the hundred and ten workers who’re being sent down the line.

“All the union can do now is try to ensure these workers are looked after in terms of negotiating redundancy benefits and finding them jobs.

“Between this and the Feltex debacle we’ve got a pretty good picture that workers working for businesses owned by private equity companies are at risk.”

Sitel workers have four months of work left and then the possibility of a further six months with Teletech before their work is shifted overseas. Sitel has consistently refused to negotiate a redundancy package for its workers.


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