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Shell starts clock ticking on unlucky 1% of staff

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Royal Dutch Shell has claimed that no more than 30 jobs will be axed following the firm’s decision to outsource more than 3,000 worldwide IT staff.

A spokeswoman at the oil multinational told The Register that it had set a “maximum headcount” of 30 employees who can expect the chop by 1 July.

That’s the transfer crunch date when contracts will begin with EDS, AT&T and T-Systems after the trio inked separate deals – worth $4.2bn – with Shell yesterday. However, individuals are yet to be informed.

But Aberdeen-based Unite union rep Graham Tran said that members remained in the dark about the exact breakdown of figures.

He told us that IT workers are extremely concerned about Shell’s off-shoring plans because “many feel they have no input on their own destiny with the firm”. Tran added that “people who have worked at the company for many years who thought they were part of the Shell family feel they have been dumped”.

Of the thousands of global workers who have faced the axe since learning in January of the massive overhaul to Shell’s IT and telecoms divisions, just under 2,000 are permanent staff based in the UK, US, Holland and Malaysia. The rest of that figure is made up of contractors.

Tran also told us that Unite, which is not recognised by Shell, was also concerned that the company will fail to meet the transfer date.

“It’s an uncertain time for the workforce and individuals are scared,” he said.

We asked Shell if it was confident of hitting the deadline for the offshoring contracts, especially given the huge scale transfer of staff involved.

“Yes, that’s the date we have stated and we’re sticking to it,” said the firm’s spokeswoman.

Under the separate five-year deals inked yesterday, Shell paid T-Systems €1bn to provide hosting and storage, and EDS scored $1bn having agreed to handle 150,000 end user computing needs. Completing the triumvirate, the oil company coughed an additional $1.6bn for AT&T to take care of its network and telecommunications unit. ®

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