One of our clients, a British company with two employees in Barcelona contacted us a couple of weeks ago saying the employees were not happy with the payroll service and could we change to XXX or YYYY company both based in Barcelona.
I contacted our payroll partners in Spain (in Madrid) and they expressed amazement as they had never heard the slightest complaint. I contacted the client and said that we would fully cooperate with the transfer but for the record what was the problem?
I received an e mail saying
“On further investigation my end, it would appear that the main driver for a change is more political. Our Barcelona employees would like the payroll to be completed and executed in Barcelona (Catalunya) rather than in Madrid or anywhere outside Catalunya.”
“My colleagues do seem very sensitive to the political position! I am a little annoyed that they originally used service issues as a cover. It was only when I pushed for real examples and then floated your alternative provider that the truth came out. I am sorry if this caused any disruption with the present firm.”
I said to the client that
“It reminds me …when I was in a telecoms company we got the same problem after the Soviet Union broke up. People in Azerbaijan, Estonia, Ukraine, Georgia etc. wanted their telecommunications messages to be routed through switching centres in …Frankfurt, Karachi, Vienna, Delhi – didn’t matter as long as it wasn’t Moscow. We said “A telecommunications message is a bit of electronics – it doesn’t know where it is being routed…” but it didn’t matter. If it touched Moscow we lost the business“.