Staff fear losing jobs as sales operation halted

James Hinchliffe is the Managing Director of VOICE Marketing in Sheffield
James Hinchliffe is the Managing Director of VOICE Marketing in Sheffield
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WORKERS at a Sheffield telemarketing firm could lose their jobs after an insurance firm suspended its cold-calling operations.

Staff at Voice, which has call centres in Broomhill and Woodseats, were told their jobs were at risk after client Homeserve stopped phone sales of policies because of complaints about its marketing tactics.

The 30 telephone executives at Voice who worked exclusively for Homeserve have had their jobs placed ‘under consultation’, with the possibility of being offered work for other clients.

Staff were concerned about losing their jobs. One said: “This is the worst time of year. Because it’s before Christmas, it’s left us in the lurch. A lot of people are going to have very serious rent issues.

“It’s left a lot of people questioning what they’re going to do. Getting jobs is hard enough as it is.”

James Hinchliffe, Voice’s managing director, said: “Homeserve have suspended all calls across their entire estate as they review their sales processes. We have had 30 staff working exclusively for Homeserve and we are now in the process of consulting with them and looking to reallocate as many staff as possible to other expanding contracts including Eon and Sky.”

Recently Voice redeployed other staff when it stopped selling Npower’s Hometeam insurance cover, he added.

Homeserve, which calls itself the UK’s ‘fifth emergency service’, faces allegations nationally that customers were misled or pressured into taking out unnecessary or inadequate policies. The Financial Services Authority is expected to launch an inquiry. The company is carrying out its own internal investigation.

The worker said: “We were told every day to hit targets and hit a certain amount of sales. We were calling customers all throughout the day to ask if they wanted care for their boiler and central heating systems, booking appointments and cover.”

Staff called into a meeting and were told to work until the end of the week.

“We’ve all just been paid, but there’s not any impression that there’s going to be another pay packet.

“A lot of people who have worked there a long time aren’t getting anything.”

Voice opened in 2006 and employs more than 400.