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East Coast rail bosses send 200 Call Centre jobs to India

18 February 2011

Taxpayer funded East Coast rail bosses provoked a row today by announcing the closure of a Newcastle call centre and the loss of 200 jobs.

Union leaders attacked the decision to cut jobs in the recession hit North East and export the majority of them to Mumbai in India.

"Here we have a taxpayer funded company sacking British workers so it can give more money to the Treasury by exporting jobs overseas," said Gerry Doherty, leader of the TSSA rail union.

"And the Treasury will then have to pay all these sacked staff dole money from June. It is the economics of the madhouse."

East Coast, which took over the franchise from National Express two years ago, said it was closing the NE run centre in June and giving the work to another firm, Public Telesales Services, which has offices in Plymouth but mainly works out of Mumbai.

The franchise is expected to remain in public ownership until the franchise is sold back to the private sector in 2013. National Express lost the contract in 2009 because it could not pay £1.4 billion it owned the Government for running the service.

Mr Doherty added:"What is the point of trying to run a publicly owned franchise if you do not put the interests of the staff and the public first?".

He accused East Coast bosses of "fattening up" the franchise for its future sale back to the private sector.

Last month the union was involved in another row with the company when it annouced it was sacking over 40 catering and ticket office staff to pay for free alcohol and sandwiches for first class passengers from May.

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