Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Tees Jobs Hit by a Double Threat; Hundreds Fear the Axe

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Tees Jobs Hit by a Double Threat; Hundreds Fear the Axe

Article excerpt

Byline: JEZ DAVISON

TEESSIDE was hit with a double whammy of potential job losses today as one of the region's biggest employers announced restructuring plans and oil workers at the Petroplus refinery entered talks with Swiss bosses who previously said they were looking sell or convert the plant for storage.

More than 200 jobs are at risk at Hartlepool-based Garlands Call Centres - which employs around 3,000 in the North-east. The firm has begun staff consultations after key client Orange decided to move some of its work to other contact centres.

The 90-day consultation will explore several options including redundancy, redeployment within Garlands or a move to other contact centres that work with Orange.

Two hundred advisors and a further 16 staff at management level are affected by the changes. In total, around 400 staff currently work on the Orange account.

Chey Garland, chief executive of Garlands Call Centres, said: "On June 16, we informed staff that the provisioning, provisioning support, escalations, fault management and tiered support work we handle on behalf of Orange was no longer required as Orange is moving some of this work to other contact centres from September 18, 2009, and re-focusing the work that Garlands handles.

"We continue to remain an important partner of Orange in broadband care, outbound retentions, collections and campaigns, all of which will be unaffected moving forward."

The news is the latest in a series of blows for Garlands, which earlier this year closed its Preston Farm operation and lost a contract to run Vodafone's account and service management duties.

But the Tees Valley firm is aggressively pursuing new business opportunities and recently secured a contract with a FTSE 100 company, creating 52 new full-time sales roles.

Garlands is also looking to "ramp up" its work with a major multinational customer and said it hoped to reveal other new business wins "in the very near future". …

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