Closure of EE call centre would have 'devastating impact' on 450 staff

While there are to be no redundances, concerns have been raised by Inverclyde Council.

Closure of EE call centre would have ‘devastating impact’ on 450 staff in Greenock Getty Images

The closure of an EE call centre would have a “devastating impact” on hundreds of staff, councillors in Inverclyde have said.

The mobile network operator, owned by the BT Group, announced the closure of the Greenock site this month and laid out plans to move 450 members of staff to another facility in Glasgow.

While there are to be no redundances, concerns have been raised by Inverclyde Council of the “devastating impact” on employees.

Councillor Martin McCluskey put forward a motion to formally oppose the closure plans and to engage directly with BT Group which was unanimously agreed by members.

The council agreed it would consult the Scottish and UK governments to question what support will be made available to keep the jobs in the town.

Cllr McCluskey said: “We can’t sit idly by while another major employer decides to pack up and leave the area and watch the devastating impact that has on employees, their families, and the local economy.

“There is only so much we, as a council, can do to try and create employment opportunities because our powers and resources are very limited.

“We need the help and clout of government to help us to bring businesses and jobs to the area, not lose them.”

The motion also called for assurances from BT Group about arrangements for staff based in Greenock and the future of the building.

The site near Custom House Quay on Main Street previously housed staff for T-Mobile, which merged with EE in 2015, but is understood to be no longer fit for purpose.

Councillor Jim Clocherty, who seconded the motion, said: “We have lost major employers such as Amazon and IBM in recent times and the loss of EE would be another hammer blow to Inverclyde.

“We simply cannot afford to lose more jobs from the area and we need urgent help from both governments to reverse this worrying flow of jobs out of Inverclyde.”

The company said any staff not within a “commutable distance” from Greenock to the office at Alexander Bain House in York Street will be “consulted about their options” including reskilling, redeployment into another role or redundancy.

The contact centre in Greenock was previously the home of mobile network T-Mobile. Photo: Google Maps.Google Maps

Additional travel costs will be discussed with those staff who are eligible, it is understood.

The BT Group supports nearly 15,000 jobs across Scotland and said the move could develop the careers of staff.

A BT Group spokesperson said earlier this month: “We’re consulting with colleagues and trade unions on our proposed plan to relocate colleagues at our Greenock contact centre to our flagship Glasgow office, which has recently undergone a multi-million pound upgrade.

“Around 2,000 colleagues are already based at our Glasgow office, which includes all parts of BT Group, allowing colleagues many opportunities to develop their careers across the company.

“BT Group continues to make record investments in Scotland’s infrastructure, including in Inverclyde, helping to transform and futureproof the nation’s digital economy.

“Our 5G EE network now covers all of Scotland’s major cities and beyond and our 4G network covers 76% of Scotland, which is more than any other network.

“We have also announced a significant investment in a brand new contact centre in Dundee, securing 1,000 jobs for the city, which is due to open later this year.”

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