- Problems at the French contact center giant could be the law’s first real test
17 April 2019—A report released today details significant concerns with French contact center giant Teleperformance’s adherence to the Duty of Vigilance Law and sets up what could be the law’s real first test.
“Teleperformance is one of France’s largest global employers, and even though it operates in some of the most dangerous countries in the world for workers, it has fallen far short of developing an adequate due diligence plan to ensure that workers’ rights are protected,” said Christy Hoffman, General Secretary of UNI Global Union. “The company’s apparent failure to meet the law’s requirements should raise alarms for investors and clients.”
The study, authored by independent research firm Syndex for UNI Global Union, finds that Teleperformance has made no serious attempt to map and mitigate risks of violations of fundamental freedoms and human rights throughout its operations, a requirement of the French law.
Additionally, it appears the company did not do the necessary stakeholder engagement in the development of its diligence plan, which was first published in December 2018.
There is no alert mechanism to raise rights violations currently in operation, although the company has signaled an unspecified mechanism will be put in place. There have been no discussions with representative trade unions, who are required under the Duty of Vigilance Law to be consulted in the establishment of the alert mechanism.
These failures are particularly alarming given that two-thirds the Teleperformance’s 300,000-person global workforce are in countries with systematic labor violations. Four of the company’s biggest labor markets (India, the Philippines, Mexico and Colombia) have “no guarantee” of the implementation of fundamental labor rights, according to the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).
While largely unknown to the public, nearly every consumer has had multiple interactions with the company, who provides front-line customer service over the phone, through social media, live chat, email, SMS or WhatsApp for some of the world’s biggest brands such as Apple, Google, and Orange.
In the run up to Teleperformance’s 9 May annual shareholder meeting, UNI Global Union, representing 20 million service workers worldwide, has sent the report to Teleperformances largest investors, clients, as well as key nongovernmental organizations on Wednesday.
The French Duty of Vigilance Law was established in March 2017. Under the law, large French companies must mechanisms to prevent human rights violations and adverse environmental impacts throughout their chain of production, including for their subsidiaries and companies under their control. These mechanisms must be reported each year as part of a “vigilance plan.”
UNI Global Union represents 20 million service workers in 150 countries—including more than 3 million ICTS employees. UNI ICTS has coordinated the Teleperformance Global Alliance, a coalition of trade unions representing Teleperformance workers from 11 countries.