Jobs transfer strike threat

Coun David Eaves
Coun David Eaves
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WORKERS are threatening to strike over plans to transfer almost 200 jobs from the Fylde Coast to Bangalore.

Hewlett Packard (HP) – which provides IT services to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) – is said to want to move work to India instead of continuing to use UK-based staff.

If the move goes ahead up to 190 workers based in live support at the DWP’s Heyhouses Lane site, in St Annes, could be facing the axe.

But the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) believe 60 per cent of the entire 900-strong Fylde workforce could see their jobs moved abroad in the future.

John Pearson, PCS HP branch secretary for the North West, said: “Overwhelmingly, everyone on the St Annes site is under-threat.

“We’re requesting a ballot on industrial action which will include strikes and non-co-operation with the knowledge transfer to the Indian workers who are coming over here to be trained.

“Our union’s fear is if the Government agrees to the HP request to off-shore jobs it will set a precedent for direct Government jobs in the civil service, of which there are thousands on the Fylde Coast.”

The latest threat to jobs is in the live support area, where workers deal with IT problems and have access to personal DWP data.

But Mr Pearson said off-shoring had already begun in other areas and the union would now be opposing these changes as well.

Fylde Council’s leader Coun David Eaves, right, said the prospect of any job losses in St Annes was a “concern”.

He added: “It’s always a concern when there are any job losses within the Fylde area, quite clearly it’s not good news and I regret any job losses.”

However, the DWP has said under the terms of their contract HP need a “specific agreement” from them before any transfer can go ahead.

A DWP spokesman added: “Any plans by HP to move departmental work offshore would have to be agreed by ministers.

“Our contract is explicit that suppliers may not transfer or store data overseas without specific agreement from the Department.”