Feeds

Unions to test Siemens' mettle

Civil service decamps to India

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Siemens has become the new face on the dart board of the union movement after trying to outsource more jobs to India.

Nine unions joined forces this week to launch their "Public Services Not Private Profit" campaign, which asserts that when private companies run public services they do it for the benefit of their shareholders, not the public they serve.

The Public and Commercial Services Union kick-started the campaign with a challenge to Siemens' plans to offshore more National Savings & Investments jobs to India. In 1999 Siemens won a £1bn, 10 year business process outsourcing contract, which including the overhaul of IT systems and business processes, and effectively involves running all but the public bank's management. In 2004, Siemens won a £400m, five-year extension.

Danny Williamson, president of the Siemens group at the Public and Commercial Services Union, and PCS boss Mark Serwotka, bent the ear of Ivan Lewis, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, this week over the Siemens plan to outsource jobs it acquired from NS&I to India.

Since taking on a 10 year contract to run the NS&I in 1999, Siemens has cut over half the jobs it acquired to 1,800. It offshored 240 jobs two years ago without making any redundancies. It gave workers jobs elsewhere.

Siemens now proposes another plan to outsource a further 240 jobs, which might involve an as yet undetermined number of redundancies. It will have to be approved by both the government and NS&I before it goes ahead.

The PCS told Lewis the government had set a green light for "offshoring by stealth" by allowing companies like Siemens to offshore jobs.

"The public sector won't have a level playing field in future with private companies because they won't be able to compete with offshore staff. That puts hundreds of thousands of civil service jobs at risk," he said.

Even private companies pitching for public sector outsourcing business will have to calculate their bid pricing on the assumption that they will offshore civil service jobs, he said.

The business will go to the firm that can offer the cheapest price, or the "most efficient" service, as common parlance has it. Offshore jobs cost the outsourcer 25 per cent of what they would pay to have someone working in the UK, he said.

A spokeswoman for Siemens said the costs it had cut from NS&I the extent to which the National Savings is being run more efficiently and the savings could be channelled back into improvements in the bank's service.

The work had been given to Siemens in the first place in order for it to cut costs, she said.

"The government should not endorse the principle of government work being done by cheap labour abroad for no other purpose than the benefit of a multinational corporation," Williamson told The Register.

A report leaked from the Department of Work and Pensions revealed that it was seeking to have its private sector contractors move work overseas to reduce costs.

It is an element also of the transformation agenda that is taking grip across all levels of government. Ian Watmore, transformation programme from the Cabinet Office, made a vague reference to the use of foreign resources at a conference last month.

While telling public sector IT directors how they should do their jobs, he used Lord Coe's shamelessly cynical Olympic bid as a role model.

Coe had wooed the multiculturalists on the Olympic Committee by showing a video with children around the world aspiring to fulfil the Olympic dream.

He was criticised for using "foreigners" in his video, said Watmore, but the ploy worked.

"We have to do that in our own industry," he said. "We have to use the globe. We cannot be insulated from global factors, we have to use them to our advantage."

However, pressed on this subsequently, a Cabinet Office spokesman insisted Watmore meant that public sector IT directors should be merely using ideas from foreign climes, to learn from them, and not employ their people.

Twenty two MPs signed an early day motion (#1940) on Wednesday in support of the Public Services not Private Profit campaign, which called for a "moratorium on privatisation", while everyone tried to find out if it was working for the public sector.®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.