Finance union wants call centre standards

Research conducted by Australia's Financial Services Union shows that up to 15 percent of jobs in the banking industry will be offshored by 2008, which equates to 50,000 local jobs.

The union's national secretary Paul Schroder agreed offshoring is gathering pace in Australia and has called for legislation to tackle the issue and to enforce international working standards for offshore call centres.

"We believe employers in the finance industry need to reveal to the consumer where their transactions are being conducted and where the centres are located, because customers have a right to know," Schroder said.

"Then there is the issue of data security because there are currently no laws governing the security of personal data in countries like India, which is a major concern for financial consumers.

"We need legislation promoting call centre development domestically, but also requiring financial service providers to sign up for global framework agreements to tackle exploitative behaviours in countries like India."

Unions in India are already concerned about jobs relocating from its shores to even cheaper destinations like China and the Philippines.

"A lot of banks hide behind the argument that offshoring improves jobs in developing nations but we believe it is about driving down costs and working conditions to the lowest common denominator," he said.

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