Hays has defended itself after it came under fire for its decision to subcontract with two providers to act as Covid test-and-tracers.
A spokeswoman for Hays confirmed the company pitched for the work in March, when an employee suggested it would be a good way to boost business after travel sales dropped, however David McCoy, Professor of Global Public Health at Queen Mary University of London, claimed that the travel agents do not have enough expertise to undertake the work.
“Talking to people who may be carrying Covid-19 and encouraging them to self-isolate is skilled work and should ideally be done by people with knowledge and experience of public health, and legitimacy to be listened to,” he said.
“It makes no sense to have the work done by a travel agency in a call centre disconnected from the public health system. The private outsourcing is taking resources away from strengthening the public health front line, where capacity needs to be developed.”
However a Hays spokesperson refuted those claims: “Training was provided as required by the client by our highly skilled training academy.
“Our call handlers meet the high standards required by our client at the level at which they operate.
“Back in March, in the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic, we could see our industry facing crisis and we decided to be very proactive in trying to secure work for our people – many of them did not qualify for the furlough scheme.
“They are quality people and we wanted to find work for them to do.”