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500 jobs threatened as Virgin Media shutters Liverpool call centre

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Virgin Media is closing its outsourced call centre in Albert Dock, Liverpool, and "consolidating" its operations by shifting to an existing site in Swansea.

The telco said it hoped to "create a new in-house centre of excellence for customer management in Swansea".

VM's two sites are run by IBM and its contract partners Adecco and Manpower.

Staff at the centres are being told this afternoon about the Albert Dock closure and the move to Matrix Court, Swansea.

The headcount at the Liverpool office currently stands at 435 contractors, while Swansea has 680 people on its books.

A Virgin Media spokesman toldThe Register that 80 jobs at the Swansea site are under threat.

"There will be a thorough consultation period over the next 90 days where we will be discussing the proposals with the teams and gaining their feedback and views," said the company.

The VM spokesman was keen to stress that the ISP would try to redeploy some of the contractors at other sites. He also pointed out that IBM could reassign them to other jobs.

He told us that the decision was "not a role reduction", because Virgin Media plans to make some of the more skilled contractors permanent employees.

El Reg asked IBM for a statement, but it hadn't immediately got back to us at time of writing. We'll update the story when Big Blue does provide comment on Virgin Media's "consolidation" strategy.

"Subject to consultation, all staff at the Swansea site with roles that map to Virgin Media’s existing organisational structure will transfer to Virgin Media under TUPE, with other roles to be discussed as part of the consultation," said VM.

"In Liverpool, outsourced staff will be offered the option to relocate to Swansea, or seek other employment within Virgin Media or through their current employer, subject to consultation.

"Under the proposals, a small number of staff based in Liverpool and already employed directly by Virgin Media would move to alternative local sites in early 2012."

VM said it would listen to unions representing workers affected by the closure of its Albert Dock call centre and admitted it was relaying "a difficult message" to staff. ®

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