Rory Murphy, assistant general secretary of Amicus, warned delegates at ‘the real offshoring debate’, organised by the National Outsourcing Association, that unions ‘often hear about the deal when it has already been done’.
His comments come in the wake of Lloyds TSB’s announcement that it is set to outsource up to 2,500 back-office jobs to India by the end of 2005.
‘There is a lot of herdism going on with companies rushing to follow one another into outsourcing decisions without realising what the short, medium and long-term consequences are and will be,’ he said.
‘Companies with plans to offshore should involve us at the earliest opportunity. This is very important and gives staff an increased level of communication and job security.’
Peter Skyte, national officer at Amicus, said that UK companies looking to offshore were ‘hitting the wrong target’.
‘It is the underlying policy of striking agreements between the various parties involved in an offshoring deal that is important.
‘It is about providing safeguards for people’s skills and investing the cost savings made on the deal into the future workforce.’
Murphy conceded that trade unions had perhaps been ‘slow to react’ to past deals.
He also said that even though outsourcing ‘wasn’t the most favourable option’ as far as unions were concerned, they ‘recognised’ it as a business model.
Hilary Robertson, offshore development director for consultancy firm Xansa, said that offshoring was a ‘global trend’ and that ‘no one was going to stop it’.
‘There is an inevitable shift in jobs and the UK has to learn to compete,’ she said.
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