Public and Commercial Services Union
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Union condemns offshoring jobs fiasco

Workers who support the UK government with IT services face losing their jobs under plans to offshore work to India, the Public and Commercial Services union says.

Up to 200 jobs are at risk at Hewlett Packard that provides IT support to the Department for Work and Pensions at sites based in Newcastle, Lytham St Annes in Lancashire and Sheffield.

The union, which represents more than 2,000 members at Hewlett Packard in the UK, says the proposals have yet to be finalised and will require ministerial approval by the Cabinet Office.

But the union warns plans are at an advanced stage and the necessary ‘knowledge transfer’ work could start in August 2011, with jobs moving to Bangalore in November 2011.

The union says it is a false economy because the limited savings on IT would be overshadowed by the costs to the taxpayer through lost tax revenues and increased benefit payments to those thrown out of work.

PCS is calling on the government to fully consider the wider economic arguments. It is consulting its members about the proposals and has not ruled out industrial action.

HP makes a substantial percentage of its revenue from government services and rewards its executives with multimillion dollar packages.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "The government must not allow low-paid jobs to be offshored. It will be a disaster for UK workers and the tax payer and will only ensure that Hewlett Packard's shareholders reap the benefits."

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