// John Lewis reportedly outsourcing call centre jobs to The Philippines
// 300 Plymouth call centre workers laid off in the run-up to Christmas by US firm Sitel, which operated it on behalf of John Lewis
// Move comes as John Lewis undergoes major restructuring of management
John Lewis is reportedly relocating call-centre jobs to The Philippines as part of new cost cutting measures.
According to a report by The Guardian, 300 UK call centre staff have reportedly been laid off in the weeks before Christmas, with staff at its outsourced call centre in Plymouth told to expect redundancies on December 20.
At least 20 per cent of their work will now be switched to contract workers in Manila, with more offshoring of further roles to come.
John Lewis said they themselves did not do the redundancies, as the Plymouth call centre is run on the retailer’s behalf by US firm Sitel.
John Lewis also denied it was moving substantial numbers of the Plymouth jobs to The Philippines but admitted that it expanded its Manila operation in March.
It now has 180 staff handling “non-verbal” John Lewis customer service queries.
The Guardian reported that staff at the Sitel Plymouth site were allegedly asked to train new workers in The Philippines before being made redundant by Sitel.
A John Lewis spokeswoman stressed that the Plymouth redundancies was not linked to its Manila expansion.
“The reduction of the scale of our operations at the site in Plymouth is in no way related to the small operation which launched from an international Sitel site over a year ago,” she said.
“The changes at the Plymouth site are part of a wider strategy to strengthen the capacity of our UK in-house contact centres, which are run by John Lewis Partners.”
The reports come two months after John Lewis revealed a major restructuring of its management team.
The high street retailer also warned landlords that some of its properties will withhold 20 per cent of the quarter’s service charge as it believed the current charges are too high.