Co-op IT staff to strike over SCC outsourcing gig

Pension dispute

Twenty-one IT staff at Co-operative Financial Services (CFS) are due to begin a 24-hour strike tomorrow in protest at a decision to outsource their jobs to SCC, the leading UK reseller.

The workers - all members of the Amicus union - are unhappy that the move to SCC would result in a reduced pension for workers.

Amicus said the pension on offer is "grossly inferior" to the CFS pension and that the company has reneged on an agreement made with the union to protect members' pensions under the terms of the transfer agreement.

Amicus regional officer Ian Waddell said: "[The company's] failure to treat their workers fairly and protect their pensions contradicts their claim to be an ethical company. They are sentencing their loyal staff to a much poorer pension than the one they joined and that just is not right."

Twenty-one Amicus members working in the Desktop Support Section in Manchester are set to strike tomorrow. A further 24-hour strike is planned for March 24 with a 48-hour strike lined up beginning March 30.

Amicus - which has 4,500 members at CFS - has warned that the company's plans for more outsourcing could lead to an escalation in industrial action among workers.

CFS said it was "disappointed" with the proposed strike action, especially since earlier this week 40 desktop support staff were transferred from CFS to SCC.

It also said that 16 members of staff, represented by the banking union UNIFI, had agreed to the revised package rejected by Amicus.

Said CFS: "Desktop support is a specialist area and, going forward, we believe SCC can provide us with a more thorough, dedicated and cost-effective service than was previously the case. All along CFS has been seeking to protect jobs, rather than make staff redundant, and we believe SCC will give staff greater development opportunities than could be offered internally."

CFS - which includes Co-operative Insurance Society (CIS), Co-operative Bank and Internet bank smile - has put contingency plans in place to cover the industrial action.

A spokesman said that CFS expects the industrial action to have "little or no effect on the service that it offers to its seven million customers". ®

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