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The Professional Contractors Group (PCG) has written to the chief executive of Abbey in protest at the retail bank’s plans to offshore hundreds of IT jobs to India.

As first reported in The Register, Abbey is keen to end its outsourcing contract with EDS. EDS is considering offshoring to salvage the project. As many as 600 UK jobs could be lost.

Ian Durrant, external affairs director of the PCG, questions what efforts Abbey has made to try and hire European staff at a time of high unemployment among UK contractors.

The £220m joint venture between Abbey and EDS was hailed as the future of outsourcing when it was signed in May 2001. It gave EDS responsibility for all back office mortgage and lending processes. More than 1,500 Abbey staff joined EDS.

Jobs from Abbey's call centre and processing businesses in Southampton and Middlesbrough could be moved to Abbey's operation in Bangalore in a wider cost-cutting exercise, The Independent reports.

Abbey offshored 400 jobs to India in January, resulting in the closure of its Warrington and Derby call centres. ®

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