The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) began a national call centre blitz this week, visiting up to 100 centres as part of a campaign to improve workplace conditions for staff.
The campaign targets underpayment of wages, bullying, discrimination, health and safety, and excessive monitoring of staff.
ACTU campaign coordinator Belinda Tkalcevic said poor employment practices were common across call centres, one of the fastest-growing employment sectors in Australia.
Tkalcevic said the union is working to inform the more than 350,000 call centre workers in Australia that they have rights that should be respected.
"Call centre workers have been among the worst-treated of any employees working in Australia. It is an industry that is unregulated with contract workers receiving worse wages and conditions than their counterparts performing exactly the same work in-house," she said.
The ACTU is working to address this problem by ensuring workers are covered by the new Contract Call Centre Industry Award ratified last month that provides pay rises of up to $1,000 per year.
It also includes casual loadings of up to 20 per cent for the first 12 months rising to 25 per cent, overtime rates and shift loadings, safe travel home allowance, notice of roster changes, a six-level career structure and training, and recognition of trade union delegates.
Tkalcevic said the new award is supported by the Australian Industry Group (AIG) and applies to three of the seven major employers.
"We are negotiating with the remaining four employers over the next few weeks," she added.
The launch of the national call centre campaign coincides with a trade union international day of action for call centre workers.