Workers' rights

Tour operators usually outsource services such as sales or customer service, IT and accounting. Sales or customer services are often provided by call centre agents. These outsourced services are typically paid very badly and sometimes located abroad, bearing the potential for labour rights violations.

Tour operators often need to handle an unpredictable volume of calls and an extensive customer interaction through customer services calls, emails and web chats. Tourism customer queries are not confined to weekdays, office hours, or geographies. These specific demands may lead to long working hours and a high level of stress for call centre agents. Call centre employees are further at risk of low pay, little training, and constant monitoring of their actions, leading to high staff turnover.

Tour operators must ensure adequate working conditions both in their own operations and their outsourced services.

The call centre industry is growing and with it exploitative working conditions. Low wages, constant monitoring, a high noise level and resulting psychological stress are widespread.   
In Germany, about 540,000 call centre agents serve a wide range of customers, including from major insurance companies, department stores and travel portals (see links below). The agents take up to 400 customer calls per shift. In recent years, many companies have moved their call centres to other countries, such as India or countries in Western Europe.

Taking action 300x190

Take action

Policy and process

  • Integrate clauses on adequate working conditions in the company's Supplier Code of Conduct to be signed by outsourced service providers. 

Supplier assessment

  • Conduct audits in call centres and other outsourced service providers (business partners).

Impact assessment

  • Include outsourced services in the scope when conducting a Human Rights Impact Assessment.

Find more information on potential measures to take on the "take action" site. 

Learn more

Find more information in the Resource Centre.