back to article Union talks up offshoring dangers to UK economy

The Public and Commercial Services Union is warning that a wave of private sector jobs will inevitably move offshore as the government forces IT suppliers to cut costs. At the start of this week, PCS members working at HP voted in favour of industrial action over plans to axe 200 staff in the north-east working on the Adams 2 …

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Stop

Unions/Labour.

Funny how offshoring is suddenly a bad thing when it's public sector jobs being offshored, but when my private sector job was being offshored a few years ago I was told that it allowed "increased competition" and it was a "very good thing".

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Anonymous Coward

The only increase in competition...

...is how many personal details someone in an Indian Call Centre can sell to criminals.

It's time to bring all jobs back to the UK from India.

It will generate more jobs in the UK

It will generate more tax for Gov.UK

And further more we will no longer get irritated by call centre staff that don't understand a word of English.

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Go ahead, strike

Show employers the advantages of unionised work force.

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Right

So when a company screws it's work force over they are just suppose to roll over and take it ?

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Anonymous Coward

Well...

They voted for action short of a strike, to impeede the knowledge transfer.

If I remember my news, last year india subcontracted work to other countries where things were even cheaper; so that could be something else that could bite someone here up the back side.

Personally, wherever possible I've been shifting my alliegances to companies that employ British staff; next year I'm planning to shift my banking business to Santandair, but don't tell my current bank yet!

I am but one small voice and my feet go where my conscience tells me. Call me a fool, I am but one pair of legs, but I sleep at night.

When it comes to governmental services and public data, however, it is a different kettle of fish as our feet are slightly shackled to the present four year incumbents. I am still somewhat surprised that the Lib Dems haven't undermined their MPs by now.

It has been proven that the private sector pensions need boosting, that the public sector pensions are not gold plated; the only people who reject that must just want the world to be something other than it is.

Yet the chaos still continues. As a Union Branch Treasurer, I saw the figures that nationally showed that we aren't as poor as they say we are ... http://life-of-a-stranger.blogspot.com/2011/06/public-sector-workers-analisys.html ... so proving that the current round of cuts are not due to the overall state of the economy; it is simply the conservatives continuing their time honoured business of achieving goverhment with a small g and public services being destroyed.

Imagine this ... three or four fold rubbish collections in your neighbourhood as everyone has to take out private contracts with different private refuse collection companies; because the private sector couldn't just have one ... it would be a monopoly!

It is easy to see something like this; but less easy to see its effect in other areas of public service.

I'm not a militant; strike should always be the last option ... but now our backs really are up against the wall.

So let me ask you a question .... how would you handle this if you were our side of the fence; having to contribute more money to your pension, working longer for it, having it be worth less at the end and also having it rise at a rate which is slower than inflation; seeing you descend in to poverty with each ongoing year?

Actually, the statistics on how long we are now living, depends on which set of figures you're reading ... http://life-of-a-stranger.blogspot.com/2011/07/150-years-ago.html - in the 1840's 1.5% of us could expect to reach 100 and the majority of those could get to 104. There have actually been two dips. It only seems like we're living massively longer if you take the figures back to about 1960.

Everything is, of course, relative, but what else do you expect us to do? Please do tell me.

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WTF?

@Michelle Knight.

"So let me ask you a question .... how would you handle this if you were our side of the fence; having to contribute more money to your pension, working longer for it, having it be worth less at the end and also having it rise at a rate which is slower than inflation; seeing you descend in to poverty with each ongoing year?"

If you add to that the constant threat of redundancy/company administration, no pay rises for years, actual real-terms pay cuts to keep companies afloat - never mind mere "below inflation" pay rises which are constantly propagandised as "pay cuts", and no ability to strike, you have what the private sector have been facing for years

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WTF?

@Michelle Knight

"Personally, wherever possible I've been shifting my alliegances to companies that employ British staff; next year I'm planning to shift my banking business to Santandair, but don't tell my current bank yet!"

Well, every bank in the UK employs British staff, just not exclusively. And if you believe that "Santandair" [sic] only employs British staff then you've not only believed the hype, but missed the fact that it's a Spanish bank.

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Anonymous Coward

In reply...

I did the majority of my years in the private sector. We had it good in the good times, enjoying bonuses above our wages and being paid in excess of the public sector. So if you see a reduction in pay that brings you down to public sector wages ... why are you moaning at the public sector work force?

The traditional view was that the public sector was paid less, but he pension made up for it. Now that the pension view has been proven a falacy in terms of wages and the private sector pension has been shown to be a farce.

The real question is ... who do you blame for the creation of the threat of redundancy/company administration etc. Do you blame the governments handling of the economy?

I have to warn you that the public sector are facing exactly this. Changes to things like the benefits segment will see a lot of local government people out of work as the new central, simplified benefits organisation swings in to being in two years time. And other departments are following. The public sector is not immune to this pain. The light at the end of the tunnel is still an oncomming train.

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Anonymous Coward

Ah...

I am aware that it is a spanish bank. I am currently with a bank that is not British, either. The big thing is about how many British staff they are supporting.

Which do you support; a non-British bank that employs British staff, or a British bank that employs foraign staff.

By the way, um, the post before ... on the subejct of pay freezes, those on national pay bargaining had a pay freeze the year before the government announced more years of pay freezes anyway. You seem to be engaged in a battle between who is the worst off, private or public sector. Well, when you have people in the organisation who have calculated that they are better off on benefits than working, you know you're in trouble.

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@Michelle Knight

Talk about picking figures selectively...

To answer your question though you have two options:-

a) Put up with it.

b) If you don't like it go and look for a job outside public sector; you'd probably find things significantly worse. You moan about your pension, but compared to the vast majority of private sector workers, whatever your moans about it.

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Anonymous Coward

Yeh...

Everyone seems to be involved in a race to the bottom and is resigned to not being able to do anything about it.

This point of view is staggering.

What was it that was said that a government should be affraid of its people, not a people affraid of its government?

The power to turn this around is in our hands. But as long as we're content to slag each other off as to who has it worse, then we're fucked.

And those who do try and stand up for themselves get slagged off by those who are content to sit in their armchairs while the employers put a gun to their heads.

And people call ME nuts?

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Mushroom

Your statistics.....

......would only have meaning were the current funding situation to have been predicated actuarially on the figures from the 1840's.

When you take into account the period over which pension provision has been in operation and the stats of the time on which the funding requirements were based and compare *those* to now, you get the *right* answer.

Lies, damned lies and this. I'll bet if you quote selected old sources and ignore anything written since, you can prove the Earth's flat too.

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Anonymous Coward

True...

Lies and damn lies.

The UK deficit was phenominal then compared to what it is now, but through all this time, it nevertheless came down, while people still didn't have a livable pension and relied on the state.

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Coat

@seanj

Another question you need to ask yourself is WHY you don't have the ability to strike.

I was talking to someone in the health care sector that said that if they joined a Union, their boss wouldn't give them any work. Unprovable in court, of course.

It would take everyone to work together in order to be able to stand up to mismanagement; but of course, no one wants to try that stragegy, do they?

There are, by the way, Unions for IT staff that don't have official recognition in a work place, but the more than join up ... suddenly, the ballance tips and the law is on your side. You don't have to stand there and take it any more ... cowering in the corner hoping that the finger of redundancy doesn't point at you while, at the pub later that night, raising a glass in silent tribute to those who HAVE been forced out the door.

I had enough of counting the pints I raised to departed colleagues, knowing the number of pints raised was getting ever closer to my ex-coleagues raising one for me. Thats no way to live.

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Re: Private Sector strikes.

Don't you see how private sector strike action is totally self-defeating?! Private sector companies work on the premise of making profit. If they stop providing a service due to industrial action, customers go elsewhere, profits drop, and a round of redundancies follows shortly thereafter - BA being a prime example - do you think the union cancelled strike action because they achieved their aims? No, they cancelled it because the terms they were fighting for would be academic if the company went bust!.

In the private sector there's competition - the choice of the consumer to use another provider if one can't live up to your expectations. If my house catches fire while the local fire brigade is on strike because the toilet paper in the station house is just a little too scratchy for their poor bums, short of starting up my own rival fire brigade service, what can I do but burn?

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Anonymous Coward

Ummm... hang on a minute...

You're going to be made redundant and your job goes abroad.

How the HELL is a strike self defeating?

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Anonymous Coward

Come on...

This isn't as straightforward as you are painting it.

It never has been.

There are good employers and bad enmployers. The bad ones will hold a gun to your head. They'll give you pay cut after pay cut after pay cut, fail to provide safety equipment, you name it, they'll try it.

Government are better than most, but even they will try it on.

At what point do you say, enough is enough? When you can't pay the mortgage? When your holiday entitlement is whithered so far down that you're even working on the weekends?

Throughout the ages, many of the rights and abilities we take for granted today, have been fought for by Unions. Things that we would think of as basic dignities in the work place. The employers have said time after time after time ... throughout history ... that the extra burdens would drive them out of business .. well, guess what ... they haven't.

In the real world, a member of staff needs to look after themselves physically. Take a break from their work; have a decent holiday to wind down; or else they'll suffer stress, take time off and things will get worse.

Well, guess what .. a bad employer will think nothing of firing your stressed out backside and hiring another piece of fresh meat.

A good employer will recognise an employee as an asset that needs to be taken care of in order to deliver the best performance. It does actually pay them in the long run as the build up of skills and knowledge pays its way in smoother operation and less mistakes.

I actually DARE you to watch all these.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=184NTV2CE_c

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLGoKqPAhSk

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4PcQfz0MfU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdJg-Qc0xbQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMNVIQqatyU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJ3ibE6LtEE

Good business is where employers and employees work together. Where employees really are driven to do their best and deliver; good business breeds happy customers who come back for more. (well, not in every industry, but you get my meaning.)

Bad business is where companies use patents to drive each other out of business and where employees are cowering in the corner, scared for their own jobs, or affraid to ask for that piece of safety equipment that would possibly safeguard their lives.

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Anonymous Coward

It's all about financial greed

The only reason jobs are exported is for greater financial greed for the executive level. Workers are just pawns for the man. When workers no longer have the means to purchase goods and services then the system will crumble and many more people will be on social care programs.

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Meh

Arrr!!

"When workers no longer have the means to purchase goods"

...then prices will go down, except if someone is pumping out the fiat money of course.

"the system will crumble and many more people will be on social care programs"

which are being financed by tax money seized from what's actually left of the economy???

I know that getting a somewhat accurate feeling for the economy is about as hard as going from simple arithmetic to differential equations [and most economists are struggling with just simple bidirectional causal relationships], but try to get with the program.

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Anonymous Coward

There is...

...another angle. A British company which employs British people can actually be funded with foreign money. And that's just an glimpse in to how complicated this whole thing gets. Talking with a financial expert makes me dizzy.

I have to say that I'd love nothing more than to get in a British car, racing green with a Union Flag on the side, and revel in the throaty roar as I turn the key. In my book, no one made cars like us Brits. But for me, it ain't gonna happen. I'm just going to have to buy some cheap pattern parts to replace the rear wheel arches on my battered, but well loved little Escort, to see her through another MOT.

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WTF?

Divide and Conquer

@Michelle Knight...you are correct it is very definitely a race to the bottom and the powers that be are doing what they always do, that is, divide and conquer. Surely the issue is that every person still working in what is left of the UK IT industry whether Public or Private should be working together to keep IT jobs in this country. It will benefit nobody in this country if we allow jobs to be sent offshore

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Anonymous Coward

Agreed

The key thing is keeping our balance of payments in the UK. Part of the problem is that things are split.

If the company is foreign, then the profits go off-shore. If the company employs foreign workers, then the wages and social benefits (which can amount to a large chunk of corporate expenditure) goes off-shore.

The only way is to award to British companies who employ British staff; but there are few of these that actually exist any more to actually compete for the kind of work that the public sector does; and when they do, the corporates can just undercut them in the bidding process, shifting costs to further down the line that inexperienced councillors (because a good portion of them change every few years) don't see and then when the extra costs hits, they are embarrassed and resign, but because the contract exists, they're tied to it.

Around us, things like this are more easily seen with planning applications. The planning team advises that a plan is legal, but because the nimbys push their councillor to oppose it. Then the applicant takes us to high court and win, because, after all, their application is perfectly legal; and the council gets shafted with massive bills. That situation is, fortunately, changing in our area; the big bills and shamed councillors has left its mark.

...and this is all public record, by the way. I'm not blabbing any great secret here.

In fact, if you actually want to find out what your local council is doing, then get a hold of the publicly published financial report every April. Its a bugger to read, but once you get a hang of it, you can find out exactly where they are planning to spend the money. You can also see the difference between what they say is happening, "Oh, we're going to have to dig in to reserves to balance the books" and what is actually happening; ie. the amount of money that goes IN to reserves during the period.

You can also find out how much is being spent on, say, refuse and if you like, under the new competition legislation that is coming in, you can then challenge the contract if you think you can provide it cheaper yourself.

I also have an FOI request to find out how much of the public sector pension funds were robbed by the local councils to prop up their finances. I'll bring you those results in due course.

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Some of the savings are fictional anyway

If the government causes work to be off-shored, then UK employees will as a result lose their jobs, and the jobs market in the UK will contract. This will create a drain to the economy in terms of lower GDP from smaller tax revenues and higher benefits payments.

A high proportion of the total cost of the UK employee would therefore need to be eliminated in order for the off-shoring to benefit the UK government.

Private sector employers can do this sensibly, because they aren't directly affected by the loss of tax revenues or increased benefits costs.

Taken carelessly, this would appear to be an argument in favour of protectionism, and it's not, not exactly. It's just the overall cost to the UK economy should be evaluated when deciding about renewing contracts. It can be harder to control how jobs are outsourced when the work is contracted to external companies like HP, but the principle about evaluating the value to the government of any creation (or loss) of UK jobs should be applied to any government contracting, IT, Defence or any other sector.

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Anonymous Coward

Also agreed...

There is a chunk of the argument that I forgot to mention; it is pointless to give money to UK staff if they then spend it on foreign goods and services. The money still goes abroad.

For the last couple of years I've been trying to buy British, but either the goods are way above my pocket, or we're just not competing in the market place any more.

I'm not sure where the money on Arm processors actually finally ends up these days; but it wouldn't surprise me if it isn't the UK.

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Facepalm

Plainly stupid

Off-shoring adds to the dole and reduces the tax roll while tax money flows out of the country for dubious at best talent.

In the private sector accounting discrepancy and platinum parachutes often follow an outsourcing venture.

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Mushroom

Government + IT = FAIL

Government departments don't have the best track record when it comes to implementing IT solutions. It seems most projects end up being delivered late, over budget and don't actually do the job they were intended for. Many get cancelled before completion and waste millions of pounds of taxpayers money.

The public sector has had more than enough chances to get it right and failed.

In short, they blew it, time to give somebody else a chance.

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Flame

Parasites

Off shoring work is parasitical in that money and work goes out of the UK economy and doesn't come back, this is one of the biggest problems with globalisation if it were a 2 way process, i.e. offshored companies buy lots of services in the UK, it would be ok but they don't, this is the main reason both the UK and US economies are in such dire fundamental economic states.

Ok so Government or a Council save X amount by offshoring certain jobs the UK now has the benefits of the unemployed worker to pay as well as contributing to the demise, or at least the drop in profits of the shop where they bought lunch the transport system that bought them to work, the company selling them a holiday, and so on.

China and India have price and wage inflation due to the influx of jobs and money coming into their countries, meanwhile the UK and US, are being reduced to desolate wastelands, I wonder how long it will take the geniuses in government to work out whats happening

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