More British jobs moving to Mumbai, Bangalore

By Prasun Sonwalkar, IANS

London : Two major British companies, Capita and Experian, have set in motion plans to implements job cuts and move work to Mumbai and Bangalore, setting off fresh concerns among employee unions.

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Nearly 400 Capita employees at Wythall near Birmingham have been told that their site is being shut and their jobs moved to Mumbai and other parts of Britain. Capita deals with clients’ administration and customer service needs.

The company confirmed the closure of the Birmingham operation by the end of the year.

Credit checking giant Experian is in the process of axing hundreds of jobs in Britain to cut costs after a dramatic slowdown due to the liquidity crunch.

The company, which employs 15,000 people, is scaling back its IT development workforce in Britain and the US and plans to outsource many of the jobs to India, Chile and Bulgaria.

Chief executive Don Robert said cuts among the 4,000 British staff would number “less than 1,000”.

At Experian’s office in Nottingham, staff were informed last week that 200 jobs at the office would definitely be scrapped. The company confirmed that the total number of jobs to be axed could be higher.

All of the 200 job cuts will be made from the IT department, which employs 240 people.

The IT section affected is involved in the area of software development. This work is being transferred to Perot Systems in Bangalore.

Experian’s cutbacks are expected to save 40 million pounds globally a year. The company has promised to set up an “outplacement” service aimed at helping their employees find work.

The company’s public affairs director Peter Booker blamed a skills shortage, saying Experian has had difficulties replacing software development staff.

He said: “To an extent it was inhibiting our growth because we could not get all the skills we needed. One of the reasons for transferring that function to India is to enhance our capabilities.”

Capita’s decision has angered employees union Unite. Its deputy general secretary Graham Goddard said workers faced an uncertain future and added that the union had demanded meaningful consultation with Capita so that staff members’ fears can be allayed.

He said: “Unite members in the Wythall Capita site face anxiety as their future rests in the balance. We are demanding that Capita meet with the union in order to have meaningful consultation about the future of staff in Wythall.

“The union is seeking redeployment opportunities for staff, as well as an investment in the retraining of staff impacted by this decision. It will also be badly hit as the company presses ahead with plans to axe many hundreds of jobs as it transfers the bulk of its customer services to Mumbai”.

Meanwhile, the head of insurance major Scottish Widows has said that there was more scope for outsourcing within the company, but insisted they will not be in “customer contact” areas.

More than 500 company jobs have been lost in the past three years. Its chief executive Archie Kane admitted last week that the process was not complete as he continued to oversee reform of the Lloyds TSB-owned insurer.

Kane said in a media interview: “We look at it from the point of view – does it make commercial sense and does it make operational sense to do these things. What we will not do is outsource consumer contact.

“We own the contact with our customers, we have to stand and communicate face-to-face or via the telephone. But with things like medical underwriting or administrative processing that goes on behind the scenes, if it makes commercial sense to do it, we will avail ourselves of the opportunity to do so.”