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Exclusive IBM is exporting more UK jobs to India under "strategic" changes to an outsourcing contract with insurer Royal & SunAlliance (RSA).

Helpdesk staff based in Liverpool were told of the move last week. Due to be completed within the next five or six months, the jobs will be taken up by staff working in Bangalore, India.

According to a memo seen by The Register, "both IBM and RSA are optimistic that these agreed changes will have a positive effect for both businesses".

The Helpdesk in Liverpool is currently staffed by IBM employees and Manpower contractors. The giant IT company refused to say how many people were affected by the move and whether there would be any compulsory job losses.

In a statement to The Register, IBM said: "IBM is constantly balancing its workforce to meet its evolving clients' needs. IBM staff will be redeployed wherever possible. This may cause limited resource actions for Manpower contractor staff."

Equally reluctant to spill the beans, a spokesman for Manpower said: "We are working with IBM to find positions for these Manpower staff at other IBM locations. Where this is not possible, we will endeavour to find them alternative employment. We are communicating with all our employees on a regular basis."

IBM teamed up with Royal & SunAlliance UK in 2001 in a ten-year outsourcing deal to improve IT support and efficiency. Some 285 RSA IT employees based at sites including Liverpool, Horsham, Bristol and Halifax transferred to IBM under TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment) regulations.

Last October RSA announced the transfer of 1,100 UK jobs - including call centre positions - to India to save £10m a year. The IT jobs shunted to Bangalore are understood to be in addition to those announced last year.

Last July The Register revealed plans by IBM to move 500 UK jobs to India in a reorganisation of its outsourcing business. ®

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