Jobs saved as government contractor abandons offshore plan

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More than 200 UK jobs have been saved after a campaign by the Public and Commercial Services union forced government contractor Hewlett Packard to abandon plans to offshore work to India.

The company wanted to offshore the work, which involves the maintenance of the records of millions of people for the Department for Work and Pensions, and had started a process called the ‘knowledge transfer’. It was the first time a government contractor had proposed sending the live records of so many people overseas.

PCS members working at HP sites in Newcastle, Lytham and Sheffield voted almost unanimously for industrial action earlier this summer and had been refusing to co-operate with the transfer of their work to Bangalore.

The union maintained that, as well as the threat to jobs, the proposals represented a risk to the security of what is very sensitive and valuable information about people’s benefits.

Because of the data security issues, the plans were subject to approval by the DWP and the Cabinet Office.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “This is very good news for our members who have campaigned hard on this and been rewarded with saving their jobs.

“But it also means that the very real concerns we raised about data security have been listened to, and we are pleased that ministers have seen sense.”


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