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Premium rate Virgin Media cuts tech support jobs

'Let's right-size our associate headcount!'

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Exclusive Virgin Media's recent decision to slap a premium rate charge on its technical support line seems to have had the desired off-putting effect on callers, as dozens of redundancies have been announced at its IBM-run call centre.

Sources say about 90 workers and managers have been informed they're for the chop at the site in Liverpool over the past two days. An internal memo seen by The Reg said: "Following the introduction of our Premium Support Line in TSC on 1st July, we have seen a steady reduction in our call volumes.

"The reduction in our call volumes also now means we need to right-size our associate headcount within the TSC and subsequently our Team Leader population across the Centre."

The under-performing cable company told customers it would cost them 25p per minute to call in June, saying that too many enquiries were unrelated to broadband and a waste of resources. Just prior to the decision it had won the ISP industry association's award for customer satisfaction.

The deal to outsource tech support to IBM was signed in 2006 as part of a cost and job-cutting drive by NTL after it merged with Telewest. An IBM spokesman said today: "IBM is constantly rebalancing its workforce in support of the ongoing needs of the business and its clients."

Virgin Media said it didn't want to comment. ®

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