After losing hundreds of thousands of call centre jobs to offshoring in the past decade, US congressman Gene Green has introduced the United States Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act that aims to improve local employment opportunities for American call centre workers. Specifically the bill has two key objectives:
- Require that U.S. callers be told the location of the call center to which they are speaking and offer callers the opportunity to be connected to a U.S. based center if preferred.
- The legislation also would make U.S. companies who off-shore their call center jobs from the U.S. ineligible for certain federal grants and taxpayer-funded loans.
Losing call centre jobs to offshore is currently a hot issue in US politics. In Feb 2016 Bloomberg reported that American call-center jobs may be one casualty of a pending Pacific trade deal that would allow U.S. federal contract work to be shifted to Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei. The U.S. in 2015 awarded contracts totaling as much as $625 million for call-center work to companies including subsidiaries of General Dynamics Corp. and CenturyLink Inc.
The United States Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act is yet to be approved but Presidential hopeful Donald Trump certainly made it quite clear his views on Indian call centres recently at a rally last Friday. Trump was critical of companies that hire call centre workers abroad and launched into a rendition of his own experience calling his bank who has their contact centre based in India.
The biggest disadvantage with call centre offshoring that any economy experiences is the loss of job opportunities for local staff. Other difficulties that have been well reported are the language, accent, and cultural barriers between the call center agents and the customers.
With a Federal Election in Australia just around the corner and jobs always a hot topic, will this become an election issue here?