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Unite workers at Capita ITS vote for strike action

UK walkout threat over job cuts, offshoring

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Updated Unionised workers at Capita IT Services have threatened to down tools over plans to offshore service-desk jobs to India and force through compulsory redundancies.

The reseller-cum-integrator kicked off a redundancy plan earlier this year placing 1,000 UK staff at risk - although bosses are aiming to reduce headcount by about 400. As part of its cost-cutting programme Capita ITS planned to transfer a number of support staff to its operation in Pune, India, and expunge over roles across the business.

So far between 50 to 100 staff are understood to have been made redundant across ITS, insiders claim.

Unite said the dispute centres on four sites - Reading, Craigforth, Birmingham and Bournemouth - which employ 220 staff serving customers including Prudential Phoenix and Abbey Life.

The union Unite said 65 per cent of members at Capita ITS voted four to one in favour to strike and nine to one for action short of a strike.

"Capita IT staff have voted for industrial action out of anger at Capita's plans to send skilled work abroad," said David Fleming, Unite national officer.

"Once the skilled jobs are off-shored from local communities they never return, which leaves a damaging impact on local economies."

Unite will meet Capita ITS bosses today to urge them to call off the proposals "if they want to avoid industrial action".

This tactic of threatening industrial action seems to have worked well against Fujitsu in the past: Unite and the integrator have a history of getting into scraps over redundancy plans and pay.

Should the talks between the union and Capita ITS fail to reach a satisfactory conclusion, Unite will propose strike dates and action short of a strike on Thursday.

Updated to add

Capita has been in touch to say: "Since 30 March 2012, we have been undertaking a consultation process involving employees about a proposal to move limited elements of our work activity to our existing IT services operation in India.

"This consultation process is not yet complete and we are disappointed that 84 employees who are members of Unite – two per cent of the entire IT Services workforce have voted in favour of industrial action." ®

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