PCS: Overwhelming vote for action over IT offshoring plan

Overwhelming vote for action over IT offshoring plan

IT workers who maintain the records of millions of people for the Department for Work and Pensions have voted almost unanimously for industrial action over plans to offshore their work, the Public and Commercial Services union announces.

The staff, employed by Hewlett Packard on the government contract, will refuse to co-operate with the process of exporting work from Newcastle, Lytham and Sheffield to Bangalore in India – a move which could lead to the loss of more than 200 posts.

The data that DWP collects includes very personal and valuable information about people's benefits. The union believes this is the first time it has been proposed to send the live records of so many people overseas.

Because of the data security issues, the plans are subject to approval by the DWP and the Cabinet Office. In a letter to a concerned north east MP recently, prime minister David Cameron said this was an issue that he "and the minister for employment take very seriously".

In a ballot, 92.5% of those who took part voted for industrial action short of a strike. The turnout was 47.6%.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "Not only could more than 200 jobs be lost if this plan gets the nod from the government, but the security implications of sending millions of people's personal data overseas are massive.

"While neither the government nor HP are able to present a convincing financial case for this move, ministers are caught between their ideological drive to cut spending and an ideological belief that the private sector will create jobs in our economy, not cut them."

ENDS

Notes

– For information and interview requests contact PCS national press officer Richard Simcox on 020 7801 2747 or 07833 978216

– The Public and Commercial Services union represents civil and public servants in central government. It has around 300,000 members in over 200 departments and agencies, and in parts of government transferred to the private sector. PCS is the UK's sixth largest union and is affiliated to the TUC. The general secretary is Mark Serwotka and the president is Janice Godrich – on Twitter @janicegodrich

– Follow PCS on Twitter @pcs_union