New CWC call centre for Jamaica or Barbados — Bentley

Unconcerned about possible replacement of Privy Council

BY RICHARD BROWNE Business editor browner@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, May 22, 2015

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WITH the introduction of a new customer service call centre in either Barbados or Jamaica, the takeover of Columbus Communications by Cable and Wireless should result in a net gain in employment rather than a net loss, according to Phil Bentley, CEO of the newly-merged company.


"I have committed to bring back a 200-seat call centre to either Barbados or Jamaica," CWC Chief Executive Phil Bentley said on Wednesday during a press briefing for Caribbean jounalists, via teleconference from London.


Within four months the company will be closing down its Panama-based customer service centre and opening a new one in one of the two islands, he said. The centre was not popular with many LIME customers, who wanted the familiarity of an accent based in the English-speaking Caribbean. The company also has an existing call centre in Trinidad.


The decision about whether the new location will be Barbados or Jamaica will be made over the next two months, with the new centre to be up and running in about four months, Bentley said.


Largely as a result of that new centre, CWC should end up employing more people than it will lose -- even with the aquisition.


"We will be a net increase employer across the Caribbean," Bentley said, repeating for emphasis, "I am absolutely convinced that we will have a net employment increase across the markets."


Despite that increase, there will still be some job losses, especially where there is duplication. "There may be some issues," Bentley said. An example is two stores next to each other in Castries, St Lucia. "We will only need one," Bentley said.


Privy Council


Meanwhile, as the debate over whether to keep the Privy Council as Jamaica's final court or to adopt the Caribbean Court of Justice heats up, the multinational investor is not perturbed about that possible change, and says it will be comfortable with whatever decision is made.


[We've always felt very comfortable], with Jamaica's system of jurisprudence, Bentley told the Jamaica Observer.


On the possibility of Jamaica switching to the CCJ, Bentley said "we have no problems with that whatsoever".


"We have confidence in the people of Jamaica," he said, adding, "We feel supported in Jamaica."


Rebranding


On the changeover to the Flow brand, no set amount has been put aside for the rebranding exercise.


"I don't have that number," Bentley told the Business Observer, but added that there will not be a "big incremental increase".


For example, money had already been budgeted to upgrade retail stores in Jamaica in keeping with the recent upgrade of the Carlton Crescent store in Kingston. "Some stores in MoBay are looking a little tired," he said, -- but the spend for that had already been budgeted.



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