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Posted on Jan 14 2011
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A CALL centre which was weeks away from closure has been saved.
The BT call centre in Abbey Road, Barrow, is set to remain open, after an agreement over new jobs for 57 staff was reached.
Staff were told yesterday and are being offered customer service roles which will be based at the current centre.
BT has pledged to invest in new technology at the centre.
BT bosses are being urged to clarify whether the centre’s upgrade will mean superfast broadband is coming to Barrow.
Communication Workers Union representative Sally Bridge, who has been negotiating on behalf of the staff, paid tribute to the spirit of workers at the centre.
She said: “I'm absolutely delighted, this is the best possible solution that we could have asked for.
“This has been a campaign which has been driven by the staff and the need to keep BT in Barrow.
“We have been fighting since August, and it must have been a miserable time for them. But they have never given up hope.
“This decision is good for Barrow as well. BT weren't originally going to be investing in new technology at the centre but they have now committed to.”
BT confirmed it will be investing in the centre, and that full details of the new roles for staff would be released in February.
A spokeswoman yesterday said: “Wednesday’s meeting with staff was to effectively confirm that we have done what we have said all along we were going to – we have found suitable alternative work in customer services for those people who want to stay with BT when the directory centre closes.
“We are currently finalising details and will brief staff further in mid-February.
“All those involved will continue to be based in the same building in Barrow.”
The centre had been scheduled to close on January 28 and BT will still cease the directory enquiries service at the centre on this date.
This is the third time it has been saved from closure, after staff also fought too keep it open in 2006 and 2008.
Barrow MP John Woodcock, who lobbied BT bosses to keep the centre open, says the company has made the right decision.
He said: “This is great news for the workers whose jobs were under threat and it is a good day for the company which has made the right decision by choosing to invest in Barrow.
“BT has been well served by its loyal workforce here for many years and that will now continue into the future.
“I have so much admiration for the way employees have rolled up their sleeves to fight for their future. Coming at such a difficult time for working people in Furness, their success has given a boost to the wider local economy.”
Harry Knowles, chief executive of Furness Enterprise, has been involved in making the case for the centre all three times.
He said: “This is a great result for all concerned. It shows that a never say die attitude can pay off.
“Not only is it great news, but it also proves that BT is willing to invest in technology in Barrow. What we want to know now is whether or not superfast broadband is coming to Barrow.
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