Union warns of strike action against HP
Plans to offshore 200 jobs meet stiff opposition
Around 200 Hewlett-Packard workers who provide IT services support to the Department for Work and Pensions in the North of England could see their jobs move overseas before the year is out.
That's the claim being made by the Public and Commercial Services Union, which represents 2,000 HP staff in the UK.
Proposals to offshore the work to India are said to be at an "advanced stage", but await approval from the Cabinet Office, said the PCS.
The union added that work on transferring knowledge to Bangalore could be underway as soon as August this year. The PCS said jobs could shift to India by November 2011.
It argued that such a move was "a false economy" as it offered only "limited savings on IT" that "would be overshadowed by the costs to the taxpayer".
The PCS claimed that tax revenues would be lost and that increased benefit payments would need to be met to help those HP workers laid off as a result of the offshoring process.
"The government must not allow low-paid jobs to be offshored. It will be a disaster for UK workers and the taxpayer and will only ensure that Hewlett Packard's shareholders reap the benefits," said the union's general secretary Mark Serwotka, who added that the PCS was yet to outrule strike action against HP.
HP told The Register that it was consulting on the transfer of some jobs to its operations in India, and expected the reshuffle to be completed by next year.
"HP is transforming its global delivery strategy and has continued to improve the quality and cost-competitiveness of services to clients by expanding our global delivery footprint.
"We have begun consultation on the transfer of some roles to our operations in India, that will be effective in 2012. We are working to redeploy staff affected into other roles within HP," said the company.
"HP uses a combination of onshore and offshore deployment models to most effectively support its customers. This is always done with customers' agreement and in compliance with their requirements to protect the security and integrity of any data." ®
Except the customer doesn't have a choice
Working for a government organisation here in France, which has tens of millions euros in HP gear, from basic desktops to Superdomes and huge blade farms. We've seen pretty much all the support services we pay for being outsourced to Tunisia and India, and HP certainly didn't ask whether we were happy with that or not. It has started with the call handling facilities for h/w repairs, but now the whole tech support for their Intel line of product has moved to Tunisia. And it really sucks. The level of expertise and experience of the people we now deal with has dropped dramatically. I've more or less entirely given up opening calls for software support because software support has become completely useless. Repairs are a nightmare, with qualification being plain wrong more than 50% of the time. I sometimes end up fighting with people on the phone because I know what part needs to be replaced better than they do, but they insist on ordering the wrong ones.
Switching vendors? Sure, that might eventually happen, but the whole infrastructure currently is HP, when all the people are trained to HP's hardware, to their software, that would cost a whole lot. So our only recourse now is applying penalties to them when they fail to deliver to the terms of the support contracts.
As far as I'm concerned, HP can die. Their abysmal quality of support has costed me too many hours of sleep (among other things).
What's so special about this one ...
is that until now, data held about you by the Government has been held and processed in this country on the grounds of data security, If HP get agreement to transfer this data overseas then every other company with an outsourcing contract will be looking to send the data that they hold about you overseas for all the usual reasons. This troubles me for two reasons, the first being that ir repesrents a hell of a lot of jobs, but the second reason is that it represents a hell of a lot of data that I would rather be processed by people to whom there is legal recourse if they leak it. Is it's offshore and out of reach and your tax records get published to whole wide word, I want the person doing the leaking susceptible to getting their arse imprisoned in this country, rather than sitting somewhere with no extradition treaty thimbing their nose at us.
We tell the government an awful lot of stuff about ourselves. Who do want looking after that information? If my bank screws up and leaks left right and centre from a call centre in foreign parts I can move my account, I don't have that choice with HMRC, the DoH, the Border Agency any other government department that holds senitive information about me,
Provide an option for customers to be able to opt put of having their data seen by anyone outside of the EU. This would shut down outsourcing overnight.