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Business publisher Reed Elsevier is outsourcing its IT support staff. Their jobs will go to HCL Technologies, a leading Indian offshorer.

The move has not gone down well, in part because TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings Regulations - essentially moving staff from one employer to another) will not cover staff's increasingly rare final salary pension scheme. Reed's pension scheme is a particularly nicely gold-plated, copper-bottomed example of the genre.

Staff who contacted us complained that the process, billed as a review, actually aims to get staff moved by 1 October. The email sent to staff also warns that some people will lose their jobs.

The review of help desk functions aims to move to one global support unit for the whole business. The email, which talks of "open dialogue" and "sharing as much detail as possible", said a decision should be reached by 18 September.

Two senior staff - Hank Hamilton and Ray Raggi - "have decided to pursue interests outside the company", according to the email.

The mail says that Reed is still considering external partners but our source named HCL as the likely recipient of the work. HCL is also named in the FAQ sent to staff. The document says HCL staff will soon start attending weekly forum meetings to discuss the move.

It also answered the question, Why did you choose HCL? Answer: "HCL best met the needs of the business and its strategy. They are leaders in infrastructure operations and are one of the few vendors approached that were prepared to TUPE staff to themselves."

About 60 people in operations, systems administration, business systems and infrastructure services will be affected by the move.

Desktop support, another 60 people, is a possible future target, according to our source. They added that the announcement had sent morale to rock bottom because most believed redundancies last year were the end of a difficult period for the company.

Reed refused to comment on the plans. ®

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