Call centres (Union-Made, Socialist Review, May 2008). Just those two words together are enough to provoke a groan and a yawn from most people.
They are indeed the modern day equivalent of the old factory production lines. It is repetitive, monotonous work that has not, in most cases, been chosen as a career and yet these office edifices have become an essential ingredient of modern life without which countless services and businesses could not function.
The staff in our call centre are amazing; there is a vast array of talent, creativity and experience from people of all ages and backgrounds, each of whom struggle daily to do this difficult job as well as they can. Being "on the phones" can often, in my experience, feel as though the wheel is still spinning but the hamster is long dead. This raises, at the very least, serious job satisfaction issues.
Consequentially, if employers are unwilling to appreciate or recognise how much effort has gone into achieving their results, under difficult circumstances and for what is frankly meagre pay, then they risk losing not only the loyalty of their staff, but the staff themselves.