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Updated Members of union Unite at the Co-op are voting on possible strike action today to prevent compulsory redundancies when work is moved out to India.

French firm Steria took over the Co-op's financial services IT department in 2007. The 176 staff were told in the summer that work would be moved to India and the company was looking for 90 voluntary redundancies. Not enough people asked to leave, so Steria is now looking to lay off 30 people.

Steria expects to save the Co-op money by shifting work to India - eventually 70 per cent of work will be done there.

Unite officer Richard Lynch said: "We are appalled that work is being transferred to India forcing workers out of their jobs at this time of economic downturn and rising unemployment, just to maximise profits for Co-op and Steria."

Lynch said talks with Steria were ongoing but no breakthrough had been made.

Staff have until 10 November to vote on strike action.

Update: Steria sent us the following statement:

"A very small number of UK posts have been identified as at risk of redundancy. This represents just 0.6% of our 5,000 UK workforce.

"Steria is an employer of choice for many people who chose a career in our industry.

"Steria’s management teams are making strenuous efforts to make sure that the risks of compulsory redundancies are reduced and that alternative positions are identified for those at risk.

"We are disappointed that in this instance Unite have felt it necessary to ballot members on the Co-operative Financial Services site. Steria is in close talks with Unite and redundancies are identified not in terms of potential profit but in the real business context of making this business unit more competitive and streamlined, thereby safeguarding other crucial UK based roles."®

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