A bill aimed essentially against outsourcing of call centres by US businesses has been introduced in the House of Representatives.
The bill, tabled by Rep Tim Bishop and Rep David McKinley, seeks to make companies which have call centres overseas ineligible for grants or guaranteed loans from the US Government.
The proposed protectionist legislation requires that customer service personnel working abroad for American companies have to divulge their location if a caller seeks the information; if a caller wants he call to be transferred to a call centre in US, it shall be so transferred. (Is this merely to cater to the patriotic sentiments of the callers?)
The bill seeks to make it mandatory for the U.S. Secretary of Labour to maintain a list of companies with overseas call centres. The bill also makes it compulsory to give a 120-day notice before moving a call center to any overseas location.
Tim Bishop said: “Outsourcing is one of the scourges of our economy and why we are struggling so to knock down the unemployment rate.”
The bill is being supported by the Communications Workers of America (CWA), a union which represents some 1,50,000 call centre employees in the US.
Interestingly, a report released by CWA claims that overseas call centres are susceptible to breaches of security. While, hypothetically speaking, the claim may be valid to some extent or the other, it is ridiculously naive to imply that call centres located within the US are immune from security breaches. Human greed, gentlemen, is universal; so is human fallibility.
R.Jagadish, Chief Executive, Allsec Technologies, said: “People in America are not willing to work for lower salaries. Today the outsourced jobs just cost only $11-12 an hour. Similarly the unemployment benefits have been extended to 180 days or more by the present Obama government. As a result they are not willing to work for low salaries. This is the ground reality.”
That’s all very fine. Obviously, US companies are not foolish enough to go for overseas call centres if they can get the services cheaper or at least at comparable expense within the US; nor or they actually brimming with philanthropic zeal to feed the unemployed people overseas. But politicians everywhere are the same; if businesses look for easy profits, politicians look for easy popularity. So the ground realities mentioned above are of hardly any consequence.
The very same politicians who are against outsourcing today may someday flip their stand on its head and say that the money saved by overseas call centres can be re-invested by the US companies to expand their businesses further and generate more employment within the US!
The Champion of Free Trade can be protectionist – in its national interest; the rest of the world cannot embrace protectionism – because it is a sacrilege to spurn Free Trade and Equal Opportunities (however unequal they may turn out to be).
The Rest of the World – Developing World – exists just to ensure that the economies of the developed world thrive and continue to thrive at the expense of the rest of the world. It is a lesson our politicians seem to endorse heartily by their actions if not through their words.
What, otherwise, explains their desire to permit FDI in multi-brand retail? We embrace it on the ground that it provides myriad advantages to our farmers and small businessmen though the benefits that accrue to the overseas trading giants are more certain than the nebulous benefits to us being projected on a giant screen to lull our credulous populace.
Will we ever learn?Overseas Call Centres US Bill Against Overseas Call Centres