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Union opposes BT – HP job swap plan

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Some 400 BT workers who provide internal helpdesk support for the UK's dominant telco could be shunted across to HP. And a similar number of HP staff could be moving over to BT in a job-swap deal.

BT staff currently providing desktop and service desk support are to be moved to HP under TUPE (Transfer of Undertaking - Protection of Employment) regulations. BT will manage HP's voice and data network in EMEA, long with a number of call centres, which could also see a similar number of HP staff move to BT.

BT has told staff in an internal memo that it has signed heads of agreement with HP, but contracts will take several months to conclude. Employees and unions will be kept informed throughout.

But unions have already signalled their intention to oppose the transfer of staff. Connect - which represents some 20,000 managers and professionals in the communications industry - has already held discussions with BT on the matter.

Said the union in a statement: "We see absolutely no justification for a TUPE transfer. What is proposed is in effect to outsource BT's internal desktop and mid-range computer support to HP. In doing so, the company would be outsourcing computer support facilities judged by one external benchmark to be third best in the world. There is no obvious reason why this should make any contribution to BT's ability to secure major third party ICT contracts, either alone or in partnership with HP."

Connect is to consult with its members over the proposed deal. "If it is clear, as we believe it will be, that members are opposed we will campaign against this proposal with your support." ®

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