Coronavirus call center workers underpaid, union says
The people who work at the GGD coronavirus call center, conducting source and contact tracing and scheduling coronavirus tests and vaccinations, are paid thousands of euros less per year than their permanently employed colleagues, according to trade union FNV. "It is incomprehensible that the government complies so poorly with its own rules," FNV vice president Tuur Elzinga said to RTL Nieuws.
About 6 thousand people work at the GGD coronavirus call center via company Teleperformance. The Ministry of Public Health, Welfare and Sports earmarked 200 million euros to pay these employees. Over the past year, FNV received countless complaints from these workers, the union said.
"The terms of employment have not been looked at at all," Elzinga said to the broadcaster. "Employees who do very important and indispensable work for Dutch public health. In times when the government allocates billions to save companies and the economy, these employees are paid a starvation wage. That is unfair, embarrassing and rude."
The salaries of the call center workers that work through Teleperformance and people employed directly by the GGD differ by about 7,400 euros per year, based on a 32 hour work week, FNV said. Call center employees also don't accrue pension, have to use their own equipment, and are not paid when they go to the bathroom or when there's a malfunction at the GGD. Due to how busy the call center is, computer networks are regularly overloaded and there are daily disruptions, FNV said to RTL.
This unfair treatment needs to end, the union said. "We understand that these are peak times and that not everyone can be hired directly at the GGD," Elzinga said. "But we want the Ministry to set requirements for suppliers in these tenders, such as equal pay and pension accrual. After all, it is an expansion of the capacity of the GGD's work. The Ministry must set these additional requirements and we are asking the Minister to take immediate action."