Ex-Dixons staff 'kicked in the teeth'

Growing anger over Capita assurances

There's growing anger among former Dixons workers in a giant Sheffield call centre, following news that Capita is to axe jobs - just weeks after the IT services company took over the running of the site.

Staff insist they were given assurances by both companies that the move to outsource the operation would not lead to job cuts. A briefing bulletin seen by The Register appears to support their claims.

Published in November last year, the document - produced jointly by Dixons and Capita - details the proposed outsourcing deal between the two companies and what it would mean for employees.

Under the title "What changes will Capita make?" they tell staff: "Whilst Capita have plans to improve the efficiency of the Contact Centre, they have no plans to make any compulsory redundancies. As detailed later, it is expected that this change will in fact lead to an increase in job opportunities, as Capita plan to expand their operations on the Nunnery Square site."

And under the heading "Job security, will there be redundancies?" it reads: "No - this is not a redundancy situation. Both the Dixons Group and Capita believe that the skills, knowledge and experience of Dixons employees are critical to the success of this Partnership. There are, therefore, no proposals to implement any redundancies."

On Monday, though, Capita confirmed that 59 jobs are under threat at its contact centre in Sheffield following a "review of operations". News of the proposed job cuts emerged just a fortnight after Capita took over the site as part of a £18m a year outsourcing contract with electrical retailer The Dixons Group.

At the time a spokesman for Capita denied that workers were given any assurances that jobs would be safe. Now angry employees have accused both companies of reneging on assurances given at the time, with one insider claiming that staff have been "kicked in the teeth".

Asked to comment on assurances given in the November briefing, Capita said: "The document prepared in November stated quite clearly that Capita had no plans for compulsory redundancies at that time. It also correctly stated that the transfer of this contract to Capita in itself is not a redundancy situation.

"What has changed since these statements five months ago is that Capita has had an opportunity to conduct a full review of its operations for Dixons and has taken the view that a minor restructure is essential with a reduction of 30 positions out of a total workforce of 1050.

"Capita is endeavouring to redeploy affected personnel within its other operations. The vast majority of staff are unaffected by this minor restructure of operations." ®

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