More than 6,000 federal employees work in contact centres or client service centres where they interact with citizens by phone, the internet and social media.
Most of these employees are PSAC members.
Examples of these centres range from Service Canada contact centres, CRA contact centres like those in Ottawa, client service centres like those in Calgary, new client service centres like the pension centre in Shediac and the new pay centre in Miramichi. Conditions vary depending in which department, agency or organization the work is being carried out. Representatives from contact centres have advised the union that it should clearly articulate the minimum standards that the union expects departments, agencies and organizations to meet. The union will work to ensure that departments, agencies and organizations meet or surpass these minimum standards in contact and client service centres through collective bargaining, health and safety committees and any other venues where improvements can be achieved.
This document lays down a set of broad principles and demands to improve working conditions for PSAC members working in contact centers. Its aim is to improve quality services to clients and provide decent working environments for workers.
The key principles for decent contact or client service centre working environments include:
- respect for collective agreement provisions including rest breaks, working time, shift time and overtime provisions
- meaningful consultation with workers and unions for all workplace changes,
- staffing levels that are sufficient to effectively handle client requirements
- attendance for workplace and career transition training, and the ability to balance work and family life
- work that is organized to allow workers the flexibility to provide quality services and client follow-up
- the provision of regular workplace and career transition training
- an environment where worker’s insights into workplace operation are valued
- an environment where workers’ have as much control over their work and its pace as possible
- rigorous application of health and safety legislation and regulations by all parties
- measures that facilitate stress relief
- appropriate call volume performance measures and targets
- appropriate ergonomic work station and equipment design, noise volume reduction design and strategies