Union recruits at charity call shop

Helen Barrett

The Communication Workers Union has launched a recruitment drive in the call centres of telephone marketing agency Pell and Bales, whose clients include Cancer Research UK.

The union wants to reach more than 50 per cent membership so it can secure recognition. The company estimates that 5 per cent of staff are currently CWU members.

Activists have posted grievances on a CWU website, claiming the company is paying its 700 London staff less than competitors. "We are intent on getting an agreement," said Gerry Ryan, London political officer at the CWU. "Activists have the bit between their teeth and there is a lot of enthusiasm. We are optimistic."

Karl Holweger, chief executive of Pell and Bales, said the claims were untrue. "Our policy is to pay within the top 25 per cent of other call centres in the locality," he said. "In London, the pay rate is between £6.50 and £10.84 an hour. We believe we're very competitive."

CRUK did not comment.

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