England

East Coast call centre jobs to go in Newcastle

A total of 196 jobs are to be axed at a call centre based in Newcastle for the government-owned train company East Coast.

The call centre is currently run by travel operator National Express.

East Coast said the work was put out to tender in June last year. Successful bidders were Intelenet UK and Atos Origin.

Intelenet UK has centres in Plymouth and Fort William. Atos Origin is based in London.

East Coast said nine out of the 196 staff affected were East Coast-employed, and they were working with them to see if there were suitable redeployment opportunities within the company.

'Uncertain time'

National Express said it was disappointed to no longer be working with East Coast in Newcastle.

It said: "We will carry out a full process of consultation with the employees, and their trade unions and elected staff representatives.

"We realise this will be an uncertain time for our employees and we will seek to provide clarity through the consultation process as soon as we have further details on the implications of this change."

East Coast said Intelenet UK would provide public telesales, group travel, assisted travel, ticket fulfilment and customer relations.

Telesales decline

Web support, web ticket fulfilment and business travel services would be provided by Atos Origin.

The train company said public telesales had continued to decline and represented 1.7% of East Coast's passenger revenue today compared with 11% in 2006.

It forecast the number of passengers continuing to use telesales as a sales channel would continue to decline.

The new contracts were expected to be in place by the end of July 2011.

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