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Cath Everett

Sift Media

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

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DWP reverses decision to offshore 200 UK jobs

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A union is claiming that pressure from its members led to IT supplier HP reversing a decision to offshore 200 UK jobs to India.

The move would have resulted in a government contractor sending the live records of millions of UK citizens overseas for the first time, in the initial step of a process known as ‘knowledge transfer’. The records held benefits information and belonged to the Department for Work and Pensions.
 
But members of the Public and Commercial Services union at HP sites in Newcastle, Lytham and Sheffield voted almost unanimously for industrial action earlier this summer to stop the move and have been refusing to co-operate with the transfer of their work to Bangalore ever since.
 
The union maintained that, as well as the threat to jobs, the proposals posed a risk to the security of what is very sensitive and valuable information about people’s benefits. The data security issues meant that the plans were subject to final approval by both the DWP and Cabinet Office, which seemed to have had cold feet at the eleventh hour.
 
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "This is very good news for our members who have campaigned hard on this and been rewarded with saving their jobs. But it also means that the very real concerns we raised about data security have been listened to, and we are pleased that ministers have seen sense."
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Cath Everett

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

Read more from Cath Everett
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