Thomson is facing a staff mutiny at its Glasgow call centre after head office scrapped workers’ afternoon tea break.

The 400-strong workforce is determined to get the holiday giant to do a U-turn after it ditched a second paid 15-minute break of the day for agents working eight hours.

The 42 longest-serving agents have issued staff grievance procedures and the workers – who start on a salary of £9,500 a year – have signed a petition which will be presented to call-centre managers at a grievance hearing.

Travel Weekly understands some staff are continuing to take the afternoon break despite being threatened by disciplinary procedures. Employees have been told they will get a ‘file note’ if they take the break. Three ‘file notes’ will lead to official action.

Workers aren’t holding out much hope of the decision being reversed because Thomson has already rejected one agent’s case, although he is appealing against the decision.

Staff at the call centre claim management’s attitude has created a vicious circle of high staff turnover and low morale among an understaffed workforce. This has led to the afternoon break being scrapped as overstretched agents battle to keep ever-increasing call waiting times down.

TUI UK human resources director Dominic Mahoney said the change, implemented on July 4, brings the Glasgow call centre’s working practices in line with the rest of the company’s call-centre operations in Newcastle, Manchester and Coventry and has been introduced to improve productivity and customer service.

“The break in the afternoon is beyond what they are legally entitled to,” he said. “It’s daft to have the phones ringing and people not answering them – that’s what’s happening.”