Tunisian workers at the call center giant Teleperformance Foundation won big pay and benefit gains in a new contract negotiated by the Informational Technology and Services union. The union is part of the Tunisian General Labor Union (UGTT), which took part in negotiations.
Effective in March, the agreement includes wage increases between 9.5 percent and 13 percent, depending on seniority, and a 250 Tunisian dinar ($83) May Day bonus, a first in Tunisia’s private sector.
The contract also includes such key benefits as the creation of a retirement bonus equivalent to three salaries, food subsidies during the month of Ramadan and a back-to-school loan program.
“This agreement comes as one of the successes that the sector and the Teleperformance Company have reaped, and is a positive message to our counterparts among call center workers that we invite them to organize more,” says Ali Ourak, general secretary of the Informational Technology and Services union.
Last year, workers at Teleperformance won a 13.8 percent wage increase after planning a strike to improve working conditions. Teleperformance, which employs more than 400,000 workers worldwide, made a 2021 net profit of nearly $560 million, the most the firm recorded in a single financial year and an increase of approximately $230 million from 2020.
The company also committed to work with the UGTT toward creation of a broad agreement that would cover all call centers in Tunisia.
Some 12,000 call center workers are union members in Tunisia, as unions step up outreach efforts, boosting union membership by 5,000 in the past two years.
Some 3,800 call center workers at Teleperformance in Tunisia won a 13.8 percent wage increase and other key contract gains after staging actions and planning a strike in Tunis, the capital, and other cities.
Represented by the Tunisia General Labor Union (UGTT), the workers negotiated an additional three days paid sick leave and increases in funding for tuition, food vouchers and their social welfare fund, which is administered by the government and includes pensions, maternity benefits, medical benefits and unemployment compensation.
The contract goes into effect immediately for the workers, 80 percent of whom are young and the majority of whom are women.
Teleperformance, a France-based multinational with more than 380,000 employees in 83 countries, made $372 million in profits in 2020. Yet poor and unsafe working conditions at its operations in several countries led workers in France, Morocco and Tunisia to strike last year. Workers say they were not paid if they refused to work without sufficient personal protective equipment, including masks, and pointed to inadequate social distancing and lack of sanitary measures for shared headphones and workspaces.
The UGTT, which now represents 12,000 workers at Teleperformance and other tech centers, has helped 5,000 tech center workers form unions in the past two years.
Some 13,700 workers won collective bargaining rights at 11 call centers across Morocco, a major victory for the country’s union movement that culminates a three-year effort to help call center workers form a union. Elections took place between June 1 and June 10, and the results were announced late last week.
The Union Marocaine du Travail (Moroccan Labor Union, UMT) also won the right to represent all the country’s workers at the national level with employers and the government—a “tripartite social dialogue” process that addresses issues such as benefits and minimum wages. In these national negotiations, union representatives will negotiate on issues specific to the approximately 100,000 call center workers in Morocco.
Next Step: Bargaining
Describing the win as an “historic breakthrough,” the UMT says in a statement that the next step is to negotiate with employers and the government to achieve an industry-wide collective bargaining agreement. The Solidarity Center and UNI Global Union allied with the UMT to support the campaign with training and other resources.
In Morocco, worker delegate elections are held every six years. More than 35 percent of the worker delegates elected at the 11 call centers are union affiliated, giving the UMT the right to negotiate collective bargaining agreements at each worksite. Moroccan law requires at least 35 percent support for union representation at a worksite.
The call center industry, comprised of mostly young workers, a majority of whom are women, is part of the country’s growing offshoring sector. Morocco is now among the top 30 offshore destinations for call centers, business process outsourcing and information technology outsourcing.
Agriculture Workers Won Bargaining in January
The UMT is one of four union federations that will represent workers in national dialogue. The others are the Confédération Démocratique du Travail (Democratic Labor Confederation, CDT); the Union Générale des Travailleurs du Maroc (General Union of Moroccan Workers, UGTM; and the Union Nationale du Travail au Maroc (National Union of Moroccan Workers, UNTM).
In another major victory for Moroccan workers earlier this year, the CDT and the agro-industry employer, Les Domaines Brahim Zniber, signed a collective bargaining agreement that covers nearly 1,000 agricultural workers on five large farms in Morocco’s fertile Meknes region.
Campaign and Media Communications Director
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