Lisa Djevahirdjian | CUPE Communications

CUPE is conducting a major offensive against the widespread psycho­logical distress in call centres. The results of a scientific study on the issue are alarming: 57 per cent of call centre workers experience high levels of psychological distress, as compared to 18 per cent in the entire Quebec workforce. CUPE is running a major awareness campaign for employees and employers in order to tackle the problem at its root. This research is the first of its kind in North America.

“The research conducted by the School of Management at UQAM identifies the main causes of this heightened distress. They include overwork, excessive monitoring, little autonomy and problems balancing work and family. The con­se­quences include frequent and prolonged absenteeism, as well as increased use of medication to reduce anxiety and nervousness, enhance mood and aid sleep,” said Alain Caron, president of CUPE’s Provincial Council for the Communications Sector (Conseil provincial du secteur des communications – CPSC).

Since the beginning of January, CUPE locals have distributed educational kits. The message of this campaign is: “Pressure has its limits. Talk to your union about psychological distress.”

“We have taken serious steps with the employers to change things. As a union, it’s our responsibility to protect workers, and that’s what we’re doing,” said Caron.