A leaflet from Kolinko attempting to find call centre workers to interview, 2000.
Happy on line?
We want to interview you and discuss the job in the call center. For this sounds more like a team-meeting we have written this flyer in order to explain our reasons behind it.
Who we are?
Some of us work in call centers themselves, others on shop floors and in the hospital. What makes us come together is the daily experience of our jobs which chain us for most of the day to the work benches or computer screens. What brings us together is the belief that as workers we can only fight for a better life together.
Why all this?
Whether in Gelsenkirchen or Tokio, at the cashier of Aldi, at the conveyor-belt or on-line: we are asked to work more, "tighten up the belt" and live with less. We do not do that because we love "our" company! What we are lacking here and now is an understanding of our common strength; the common knowledge of how we can resist against the stress on the job, the threats to get fired etc.
How is it working?
Whether we can change our situation does not depend on parties or unions. It depends on our ability to transform the company's and state's dependency on our work into our own strength. So far workers have only accomplished something when relying on this strength and their daily experience: "We know how the work is done together and we can lay it down, too".
What does that have to do with call centers?
Call centers are presented by many as nice new work-places that have nothing to do with "dirty" factories anymore. We experience the opposite every day. Often we sit with 100 and more people in one room, no matter where we are from, what profession or job we had before, getting radiated by the monitors in the rhythm of the calling machine. After the shift we go home burnt out and tired. Apart from us there are hundreds, thousends feeling the same, but when the stress it getting too big, we try to get out individually, looking for another job. The difference to the "dirty" factories is not, that we would have less reason to do something to improve our situation or to change it. Also in the "clean" call centers we are being forced to work special shifts and overtime and to follow the accelerated work rythm. Therefore we have to find out together which possibilities we have to fight against that.
So far there were hardly any meetings, assemblies or strikes where we could have exchanged experiences and learn from each other. We need the discussion of different conflicts in different call centers and of the experiences other workers have already had. This exchange is crucial in order to find out how we can organize in our daily work and how we can get what we want. For instance, where do we have - just by working - contacts with other workers (through the phone lines), and what parts of the company are dependent on the fact that we play the answering machine every day? Interviewing each other can be a first step to get a whole picture of our situation.
What happens with the interviews?
You decide that. All interviews are held anonymously, after all we are agents. More important than the single interview is the discussion and further contact in order to further talk about changes and conflicts at work.
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In case you want to send us an email:
[[email protected]]------[pgp-key kolinko]