Grauniad faces offshoring strike
Father of the chapel's on Facebook and everything
Guardian Media Group*Guardian News & Media is facing strike action from techies and possibly journalists if it pushes ahead with plans to start outsourcing technical staff.
Although the paper has been an occasional critic of offshoring, the media group (GNM) desperately needs to save money after running up serious losses in recent years. Not that outsourcing between 60 and 80 jobs will save that much - about £1.6m a year, according to estimates.
A Facebook group opposing the outsourcing plan has attracted nearly 800 supporters. About 900 members of staff have signed a petition opposing the offshore push.
A spokesman for GNM said:
"As part of a general review of GNM's operations we have been considering a range of options for our Enterprise Technology department, which sits within the wider GNM technology function. The aim of this work is to make sure we have access to the full range of skills we need for the future, and to reduce our cost base.
"It has been an open and consultative process throughout, involving stakeholders (including staff) across the organisation. Until we have spoken to staff and their union representatives about the outcome, it would not be appropriate for us to comment further at this stage."
The first jobs to go will be tech support for desktops and content and print management systems. Staff working for the Guardian contract publishing business are also likely to see their jobs move.
From a lengthy shortlist GNM has chosen HCL as its preferred bidder should the deal go through.
Father of the Unite chapel John Stuttle said on Facebook that the techies should be kept in-house because of the media group's increasing reliance on its website.
Unite used an open letter to quote CP Scott, the man the Scott Trust is named after: "A newspaper has a moral as well as a material existence, and its character and influence are in the main determined by the balance of these two forces."
The staff likely to see their jobs move are mostly Unite members, but a couple of NUJ members are also on the list.
If they look likely to lose their jobs too, then we could see Grauniad journos balloting for strike action as well.
The board meets on Thursday, and according to our sources is equally split on whether sending jobs to India is in-line with the Scott Trust's principles or not.
Those principles include:
• honesty • cleanness (now interpreted as integrity) • courage • fairness • a sense of duty to the reader and the community
Last year saw a wide review at the newspaper group which still lost £54m on turnover of £280m. The year before it made a loss of £74m on turnover of £405.4m. ®
The original version of this story referred to Guardian Media Group - instead of Guardian News & Media - the publisher of the Guardian and the Observer.
This is one of the things I hate about modern life.
Company after company goes down the outsourcing trail in the search of savings - but whatever you are paying must include a profit element for the outsourcer.
We then all end up working in organisations where most of the people we come into contact with don't actually work for the company at all and consequently don't give a crap. They are performance measured to within an inch of their lives so nobody does anyone a favour.
I don't believe that the workplace should be some kind of ersatz family with one-sided employee 'loyalty' but I don't think it hurts for everyone to be striving for success for the same entity and to see colleagues as co-workers in that effort.
As one of the previous posters says failure becomes redefined as success and we all get used to it and live with it.
Let's throw ourselves under the bandwagon!
Sure, the quality of your technical support drops towards zero, but look how much money you're saving by redefining failure as the new success.
My experiences at Wapping
I was part of the failed Wapping HCL experiment and if that is anything to go by, those at the Grauniad have my every sympathy. Striking was effectively ruled out for us because of the lure of redundancy payments - some people had worked in the IT department for around 20 years and quite rightly they didn't want to lose what was due.
It began by the replacement of the outgoing CTO with the aforementioned Mr Turtle Neck who promptly dispatched virtually the entire IT management team, (save one or two useless arse lickers desperate to save themselves - you know who you are) as well as anyone that knew what they were doing. These were replaced with vacuous yes-men and non-technical managers (I'd be surprised if any of them could change a plug) who were all in on the act, many of them having worked with Clucky before.
Cue much management bullshit when the problems started that no-one could fix because anyone that could had since left. Problems were either blamed on the 'transition period' or successfully defended with that great 21st century invention, ITIL. It's fucking great for problem identification and recording, problem classification, problem investigation and diagnosis etc.. Thing was we didn't have any fucking problems before turtle neck arrived.
Consequently, morale dropped like a stone, productivity ceased, indeed production ceased ito in house development ceased completely. Turtle Neck believes you can buy any type of software off the shelf you see and get a grad' to 'configure it'. Hey presto - new Editorial system!!
Fortunately, he has now had a dose of his own medicine and will soon be off (a consultant for Bernard Matthews I believe). Not nice to be surplus to requirements is it Andy? Still, 3 years to completely fuck up an IT department isn't a bad epitaph for ones CV.
I wish the Grauniad strikers all the best. I wish we'd had the balls to do it when we had the chance.
Re: Re: Echoes of Wapping
>>don't hire the wanker
That's just given me a nice Blue Oyster Cult earworm.
My last experience of indian support was to ask the support staff to run a command to determine the packages installed on a high-end sun server.
They had to ask us what command to run to access this information which we found scary. So we sent them the command and assumed they were complete morons - dont include a full stop at the end - dont quote the command etc.
Well after a long wait we got the result back .
The gist of the response was "Segmentation violation: core dump."
Yes these fwits^Wsysadmins assumed this was what we expected as a package listing for a business critical, state of the art sun cluster and sent it as a valid response.