A MORAY politician has been reassured about the future of a Forres call centre by its new owners.
Richard Lochhead MSP heard from Kura’s chief executive Brian Bannatyne about plans for expansion and job creation at Strathcona House on the Forres Enterprise Park.
The news follows revelations in the Gazette from former employee Morag Mahlitz that up to 40 people lost their jobs when Kura took over the contract from Capita in January.
However, having heard outsourcer Kura’s plans, Mr Lochhead believes the outcome will be positive.
He said: “It’s always an anxious time for employees and their families when companies lose contracts and another company takes over. Some employees were left without employment and it has certainly been a difficult time for those affected.
“However, I’m told there are already more jobs in the call centre than there were at the end of the previous contract under the previous ownership. And if Kura are able to expand in the future new opportunities will open up.”
A total of 117 people were previously employed by Capita at the contact centre on the Forres Enterprise Park.
The Gazette reported in December that jobs there were at risk after a contract with Marks and Spencer was lost to another provider. Mr Lochhead worked with Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), and Scottish Ministers, to secure the future of the call centre via a new contract.
Kura was chosen as strategic outsourced partner of Scottish Power for the next five years, delivering all call handling services from UK-based centres including Forres. More than a hundred local jobs were saved with the possibility of around 150 being created in the future.
HIE are now working with Skills Development Scotland and Job Centre Plus to help Kura recruit staff for new roles.
Mr Lochhead added: “The retention of so many jobs is hugely important to the local community and Moray’s economy.
“There is a lot to be optimistic about going forward.”
Kura made no comment.