UK railway minister in dock for telling sacked workers to take up jobs in India
London, Aug.4 (ANI): British Railway Minister Theresa Villiers has attracted criticism for suggesting that sacked call centre workers should head back to India in search of employment.
Villiers is being accused of asking sacked call-centre workers in Newcastle to relocate to Mumbai.
According to the Independent, a letter written by Villiers to Berwick MP Sir Alan Beith has prompted anger from Labour and the unions, which have described the prospect of staff from the North East being asked to move 5,000 miles to do the same job in India as "unhinged and unpatriotic".
The row follows the closure of Baron House, a former East Coast passenger call centre, which resulted in the loss of nearly 200 jobs and delivered a major blow to the region's struggling economy.
A review of public contracts by the newly nationalised rail operator meant the existing provider, National Express, missed out to two other companies, one of which, Intelenet (UK) has operations in Plymouth and Mumbai.
It has now emerged that a third of those jobs have now been exported to India while the rest have been divided between centres in Wolverhampton and Devon.
None of the workers from Newcastle relocated, a rail source said.
But in her letter, Villiers sought to reassure Sir Alan that under Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations (TUPE), their future was secure.
Maria Eagle, Labour's shadow Secretary of State for Transport, dismissed the suggestion as adding "insult to injury".
"The buck must stop with Theresa Villiers and her fellow ministers in this Tory-led Government," Eagle said, adding that: "They should be offering support for those who risk losing their jobs rather than making ridiculous suggestions that they move to India." (ANI)
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