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Shell expected to slash 3,200 IT jobs

Oil firm 'loath' to confirm number

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Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell has told its staff that it plans to make more than 3,000 job cuts.

According to a leaked memo to its staff from Shell's vice president of IT infrastructure Goh Swee Chen, the firm has been in talks with outsourcing outfits EDS, AT&T and T-systems, and said that contracts were expected to be inked in March.

She told Shell employees: "I acknowledge that there will still be uncertainty as we are working through the finalisation of contracts, open resourcing and transition preparations. I encourage you to keep an open mind and take the time to learn more about the suppliers as employers and as business partners."

The Register broke the story that Shell planned to offshore thousands of jobs in 2004.

We reported that almost 3,000 jobs in the firm's IT department could go abroad as part of Shell's cost-saving project, dubbed ITVision.

A Shell spokeswoman told us today that she was unable to comment on whether the cuts cited today were in addition to 2004's job cull.

She said that the Anglo-Dutch firm, as part of its $850m per annum like-for-like cost savings Infrastructure Sourcing Program (ISP) that first kicked off a few years ago, was continuing to look at ways of tightening the belt.

Shell had intended to reduce its headcount by 3,000 by the end of 2006. This suggests that the memo, which was published on anti-Shell website Royaldutchshellplc.com, in fact points to a new round of job cuts.

When pushed on whether or not Shell could provide a definitive figure on how many of its workers could be affected by the cuts, the spokeswoman said: "I can't confirm the number and I'm loath to comment on any number."

Royaldutchshellplc.com reckoned that around 3,200 jobs looked set to be outsourced, and that staff can expect to find out their fate in letters from the firm at some point this month. ®

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