FRANKFURT Nov 18 Labour representatives have
harshly criticised German phone company Deutsche Telekom's
treatment of workers at its ailing U.S. unit, which
the group plans to merge with MetroPCS.
Lothar Schroeder of the Verdi services workers union, who is
also a member of Telekom's supervisory board, told Reuters on
Sunday that some of the group's U.S. call centre agents are
working under what they described as a "climate of tyranny".
Schroeder had spent a month talking to Deutsche Telekom call
centre employees across the United States, he said.
German monthly Der Spiegel earlier reported that some call
centre agents had been forced to write lines or wear donkey
ears, citing a dossier written by Schroeder and the head of
union Communications Workers of America (CWA), Larry Cohen.
The dossier also included reports of wilful dismissals of
Spiegel cited Telekom Chief Executive Officer Rene Obermann
as saying this was a campaign launched by unions to "increase
their influence and power in the USA".
"We take each individual case seriously, investigate it and
will address any grievance if that is the case," the CEO was
also quoted as saying.
Deutsche Telekom this month took a 7.4 billion euro ($9.4
billion) impairment charge for its T-Mobile USA unit, which it
plans to merge with smaller rival MetroPCS, pushing it
to a 6.9 billion euro third-quarter net loss.
The MetroPCS deal is only a Plan B for the No. 4 U.S.
wireless network since its $39 billion attempt to sell T-Mobile
USA to AT&T collapsed in late 2011 because of opposition
from antitrust regulators.